Page last updated at 05:48 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

India Maoist attack kills 11 in Bihar village

Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh
Maoists have a presence across large parts of India

Suspected Maoist rebels have killed 11 people in an attack on a village in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

More than 100 rebels attacked Phulwaria Korasi village in Jamui district early Thursday morning, officials said.

The assailants blew up a house with explosives, set on fire nearly 30 mud huts with thatched roofs, and opened fire at the villagers.

More than 6,000 people have died during the rebels' 20-year fight for communist rule in many Indian states.

The Indian government recently began a major offensive against the rebels in several states.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist insurgency as India's "greatest internal security challenge".

The rebels now have a presence in 223 of India's 600-odd districts.

'Revenge attack'

The attackers reached the village, nearly 200 km (124 miles) from the state capital, Patna, after midnight, BBC Hindi's Manikant Thakur reports from Patna.

The rebels went around the village, setting homes ablaze and firing at people.

The village is only three km from a police camp, but residents alleged that the police did not arrive there for several hours.

According to reports, the villagers had killed eight rebels about a fortnight ago and Thursday morning's attack was believed to a revenge by the Maoists.

Local officials said the toll was expected to go up as several people were still unaccounted for.

Some reports said the rebels had abducted a few villagers, officials said.

On Monday, the Maoists attacked a camp of paramilitary forces in the neighbouring West Bengal state, killing 24 troops.

Nearly 50 rebels on motorcycles encircled the camp of the Eastern Frontier Rifles (ERF) at Silda village.

The state government has ordered an inquiry into the killings.

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