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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March, 2005, 09:58 GMT
India rebels 'kill eight people'
Police in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh say suspected Maoist rebels have killed eight people in a village south of the state capital.

A senior police officer told the BBC that a group of policemen have been sent to the remote village in Kurnool district to investigate the incident.

He said his men were moving cautiously in the area fearing rebel land mines.

Police have appealed for witnesses to go to the nearest police station to provide more details of the attack.

They say that the rebels took advantage of reduced security following peace talks last year to force 50 villagers into a forest, where 11 victims were separated from the group.

'Escalating violence'

"After speaking to each of them separately, they shot eight dead and maimed three others by cutting off their legs or hands," Atul Singh, superintendent of police for the area, told the Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Omer Farooq in the state capital Hyderabad says that the violence began when the Maoists abducted the 50 villagers under the pretext of settling a dispute between two warring village groups.

Our correspondent says that violence in Andhra Pradesh has escalated since the peace process between Maoist rebels and the state government derailed in October.

More than 60 people have died in clashes between the rebels and police in the last three months.

Until October, the rebels were known as the People's War Group. But at that time they announced a merger with the Maoist Communist Centre to become the CPI (Maoist).

The rebels have been fighting since 1980 for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

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04 Nov 04 |  South Asia
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19 Oct 04 |  South Asia
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18 Oct 04 |  South Asia

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