Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 18:02 UK

Police die in India Maoist attack

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

Suspected Maoist rebels in India have killed 16 police personnel in a gun battle in the western state of Maharashtra, police say.

The attack took place near the town of Nagpur, close to a rebel stronghold near the border with the state of Chhattisgarh where Maoists are active.

Local police chief Pankaj Gupta told the BBC that 11 policemen had been killed and five policewomen.

Mr Gupta said they were ambushed by gunmen and none survived.

There was no immediate word on rebel casualties, he said.

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

More than 6,000 people have died during their 20-year fight.

In April at least 10 paramilitary troops were killed in the eastern state of Orissa when dozens of Maoist rebels attacked a bauxite mine.

In February, 15 officers were killed in a similar incident near Nagpur, 800km (500 miles) east of Mumbai.

The rebels say that they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, and are fighting for better land rights and more jobs for agricultural labourers and the poor.

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