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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 09:07 GMT
Maoists killed in India fighting
Maoists rebels in Chhattisgarh
The rebels have been active in Chhattisgarh for the past few years
Authorities in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh say 11 Maoist rebels have been killed in heavy fighting with security forces in the state.

Six security personnel were also killed in the clashes, officials say.

The fighting comes days after battles between policemen and Maoist rebels in eastern Orissa state left a number of policemen and rebels dead.

About 6,000 people have been killed in violence linked to the Maoist rebels in India over the past 20 years.

Heavy firing

The clashes in Chhattisgarh state took place in the jungles of Bastar area on Monday.

State police chief G Nayak told reporters that bodies of eight rebels had been recovered from the area.

"Our force could see three more bodies. But we are unable to go near them as there is heavy firing from the other side."

He said the police raided the area after getting information about a "large gathering" of rebels there.

During the fight, the rebels detonated land mines and opened fire on security forces, Mr Nayak said.

The Maoists are active in many states across east and central India. They focus on areas where people are poor but there is great mineral wealth.

The rebels say they represent the rights of landless farmhands and tribal communities.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, recently described the rebels as the biggest threat to the country's security and called for a dedicated security force to combat them.



SEE ALSO
Indian Maoists kill 14 in Orissa
16 Feb 08 |  South Asia
Maoists 'kill four Indian police'
27 Feb 07 |  South Asia
India rebels free train captives
14 Mar 06 |  South Asia
India plans anti-Maoist strategy
19 Sep 05 |  South Asia
Indian state bans Maoist groups
05 Sep 05 |  South Asia
India's Maoist revolutionaries
08 Apr 04 |  South Asia

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