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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Six killed in India rebel attack
Suspected Maoist rebels have killed six people, including a politician, in an ambush in the northern Indian state of Bihar, officials have said.

The rebels fired on Ashok Kumar Singh, a candidate in the local village council election, in Deohara village in Aurangabad district on Monday night.

Five supporters of Mr Singh were also injured in the attack.

Left-wing rebels, known as Naxalites, have stepped up attacks in many Indian states in recent months.

The district magistrate of Aurangabad, Birender Bahadur Pandey, told the BBC that Mr Singh belonged to the ruling Janata Dal (United) party in the state.


He said the rebels fired on Mr Singh and a group of supporters when they were returning home in a vehicle.

The rebels later set the vehicle on fire - at least two charred bodies were recovered from the wreckage.

Paramilitary soldier guards Jehanabad jail
Hundreds of Maoists escaped from this jail in Bihar

Mr Pandey said the incident was a result of rivalry between the rebels and Mr Singh. Some reports said that the rebels had been campaigning for a boycott of the local elections.

Mr Singh's brother had also been killed by the rebels over three years ago, Mr Pandey said.

Of Bihar's 38 districts, 18 are badly affected by the Maoist insurgency. Central Bihar in particular has a long bloody history of killings.

Last November, Maoist rebels raided a jail in Jehanabad district and freed more than 300 inmates.

The rebels are pressing for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

They say their aim is to improve the economic and social rights of the poor and of indigenous tribes.

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