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Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 16:37 GMT
Four dead in mine blast
Mahbubnagar map

Omer Farooq reports from Hyderabad

The authorities in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh say four people, including three policemen, have been killed in a powerful landmine blast.

Police say the outlawed left-wing People's War Group is responsible for the incident.

Police say the blast occurred near Tummakunta village in Mehbubnagar district, about a 150 km south of Hyderabad.

The explosion hit a police jeep that was on its way to the village to investigate the killing of a Telegu Desam Party worker on Tuesday evening.

Those killed in today's blast include a sub-inspector and two constables.

Police say the blast was a well planned attack.

The state home minister, T Devender Goud, and the director general of police, H J Dora, have left for the site of the incident.

Nearly 400 people have been killed in clashes between the police and the Naxalites this year, including 31 policemen and 200 Naxalite activists.

The People's War Group, a Maoist-Leninist organisation formed in 1980, has been waging an armed struggle for the creation of a communist state consisting of parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

It has been targeting landlords, charging them with the exploitation of the poor and landless labourers.

More than 5,000 people have died in violence between the Naxalites and police in the last 15 years.

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