Indian police said suspected Maoist militants killed at least 25 security personnel and injured six others deployed in the state of Chhattisgarh in an ambush on Monday.
Witnesses said up to 300 rebels carried out the attack. Maoists in India — known as Naxals or Naxalites — support the Communist Party of India and seek to impose communist rule and advocate fighting for greater rights for tribal people and the rural poor.
“Attack on [Central Reserve Police Force] personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly and deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely. We are proud of the valor of our CRPF personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain. Condolences to their families,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter. “May those injured in today’s attack in Chhattisgarh recover at the earliest.”
The Maoist militant attack is the worst since 2010 when rebels killed 75 security officers in the same region.
The officers from India’s Central Reserve Police Force were guarding workers building a road in the Sukma district at the time of the attack. The government said creating the road would help dismantle the Maoist militancy in the area.
An official suggested the rebels launched the attack because it threatens their insurgency.
“Security forces will move with ease in the area after this road is built and this is troubling the Maoists. We are entering their core through this road,” a security official involved in anti-Maoist rebel operations said.
By Andrew V. Pestano