Eight Maoist rebels including four women fighters were killed yesterday in central India, an official said, in the latest killings in a decades-old conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
Hundreds of police commandoes launched a search operation in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh state after a tip-off about a large group of Maoists near Bijapur district, one of the hotbeds of the insurgency.
Police said the commandoes came under fire early yesterday, triggering a gunfight lasting two hours. The rest of the rebels managed to flee, a source said.
Thousands of fighters occupy vast swathes of mineral-rich areas in the country's east and centre. They demand land, jobs and a share of the region's huge natural resources for local tribes.