BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 16 December 2007, 14:40 GMT
Indian rebels in mass jailbreak
Nearly 300 communist rebels and their supporters have reportedly escaped from an Indian prison in an armed jailbreak.

A police spokesman said 299 of the 377 inmates in Dantewada prison in Chhattisgarh state had escaped.

"The inmates overpowered the prison guards and fled amid gunfire," police superintendent Rahul Sharma was quoted as telling New Delhi Television.

Reports said the remaining prisoners had taken control of the jail. But this has not been confirmed.

India's Zee News cited intelligence sources saying there had been clashes between inmates before the escape, and that possibly these were planned as a distraction.

Thousands killed

Police said reinforcements had been sent to the area to help search for the escapees.

The prisoners at Dantewada, south of the state capital Rajpur, are said to be mainly Naxalite rebels - militants fighting for a communist state in eastern India - and their supporters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described these Maoist guerrillas as the most serious threat to India's national security.

The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of tribes people and landless peasants.

They have killed thousands of people, including hundreds of policemen, in the past three decades.

Many dead in India Maoist attack
27 Oct 07 |  South Asia
Indian police attacked by Maoists
30 Aug 07 |  South Asia
Displaced by India's red threat
30 Jun 06 |  South Asia
India faces Maoist 'Red Salute'
21 Jun 06 |  South Asia
India's local anti-Maoist campaign
05 May 06 |  South Asia

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific