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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 11:56 GMT
Maoists escape Indian police raid
An Indian soldier takes positions near a jail in Jehanabad, Bihar
Last month Indian police tackled a massive Maoist raid on a Bihar jail
Nearly 60 Maoist rebels have escaped a police operation in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, police said.

The police carried out the raid in the state's Nallamalla forest - which spreads over five districts.

The area is believed to be the biggest hideout of the rebels in the state, police said.

Two top rebel leaders - Burra Chennaiah alias Madhu and Shakhamuri Appa Rao alias Ravi, were among those who fled, according to the police.

Rao is also accused of a failed attempt to kill the state's former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu two years ago.

A senior police official in the Prakasham district - where a part of the raid was carried out - told the BBC's Omer Farooq that the rebels escaped even before the police reached the targeted area, perhaps alerted by media reports on the planned operation.

The police are still combing the area for the rebels.

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