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Page last updated at 05:45 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 06:45 UK

Troops die in India Maoist attack

Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh
Maoists are fighting for communist rule in a number of states

At least 10 paramilitary troops have been killed in India's eastern Orissa state after dozens of Maoist rebels attacked a bauxite mine, police say.

Four rebels also died in the nine-hour battle in the Panchpatmali area. Police said they had rescued dozens of people trapped by the fighting.

The rebels wanted to steal explosives from the mine but fled without them, police said.

The rebels are fighting for communist rule in a number of Indian states.

More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight.

'Rescued'

The rebels attacked the mine in Orissa's Koraput district on Sunday, police said.

Most of the rebels escaped after the nine-hour battle.

However, authorities said about 200 special forces commandos later surrounded a group of 40 Maoists and were exchanging fire.

A senior police officer, Deepak Kumar, told the BBC that earlier dozens of workers who had been trapped in the mine were rescued.

The workers have not been harmed, news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted CR Pradhan, director of the mine company, National Aluminium Company Limited (Nalco), as saying.

Nalco is one of India's largest aluminium exporters and the Panchpatmali mines are the company's main sources of bauxite, the primary ingredient in aluminium.

The attack comes days before national elections begin in India.

The rebels have called for an election boycott.



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