13 police officials killed in India Maoist attack
Bhubaneswar, February 16, 2008
Hundreds of Maoist rebels in India's eastern Orissa state attacked police stations in a district close to the capital, killing 14 people and looting weapons, police and officials said on Saturday.
All but one of the dead were police officers and there was no word of casualties among the Maoists. The other victim was a civilian.
The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and landless and regularly stage raids in the swathe of eastern and central India in which they have a presence.
Prime Minister Manmoham Singh has declared their decades-old insurgency as the gravest threat to India's internal security.
The simultaneous attacks on towns in Orissa's Nayagarh district began late on Friday and lasted for several hours, superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar told Reuters from Nayagarh town, just 80 kilometres southwest of the state capital, Bhubaneswar.
'About 500 armed rebels rushed to Nayagarh town in vehicles and attacked a police station, armoury and police training centre, hurled bombs in several places and looted huge quantity of arms and ammunitions,' Kumar said.
Similar raids took place in two other district towns and gun battles followed as police fought back. Kumar said 13 policemen and one civilian were killed in the attacks, while two other officers were in a critical condition in hospital.
Orissa's Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda said hundreds of police and paramilitary forces were searching for the rebels in surrounding countryside.-Reuters