NEW DELHI: Suspected Maoist rebels killed three paramilitary troopers and injured another six in an ambush in eastern India on Wednesday, a police officer said.
After triggering a landmine, the rebels opened fire with assault rifles on a Border Security Force convoy in a forested area of Orissa state, district police chief Mitrabhanu Mahapatra said.
“Two troopers died on the spot and another was declared dead at the hospital,” Mahapatra told AFP by phone from Malkangiri district where the attack occurred, some 640 kilometres (400 miles) from the state capital Bhubaneswar.
“Six jawans (soldiers) are injured. They (the rebels) fled after the attack but we have launched a combing operation to catch them,” he said.
Tens of thousands of paramilitary troops and police are stationed in the tribal areas of central and eastern India, fighting thousands of armed insurgents.
The Maoist rebels claim to be fighting for jobs, land and other rights for mainly tribal minorities who suffer grinding poverty.
The rebels regularly launch attacks on security personnel in dozens of districts in the so-called “Red Corridor” which stretches through the country.
The insurgency has claimed thousands of lives, and the government describes it as the country’s most serious internal security threat.
Last week insurgents injured a top police officer and killed his driver in neighbouring Jharkhand state.
Critics believe attempts to end the revolt through security offensives are doomed to fail, saying the real solution is better governance and development.