RAIPUR: Maoist rebels have killed at least 16 policemen in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police say.
The patrol was on its way to provide security to workers building a road in Sukma district when rebels fired at them, officials say.
Twenty-five policemen were injured in the attack, senior police officer Mukesh Gupta told BBC Hindi.
Security officials and police sources said up to 200 rebels attacked a patrol in forests to the south of the state capital, Raipur, before a major gun battle erupted.
Eleven members of the national paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed along with four members of the state police force, said Mukesh Gupta, one of Chhattisgarh’s most senior police officers. “As of now, a total of 11 CRPF, four policemen and one civilian have died,” Gupta told AFP.
Chhattisgarh is a stronghold of the rebels who say they are fighting for the rights of the poor.
The Maoists are active in more than a third of India’s 600 districts and control large areas of several states in a “red corridor” stretching from north-east to central India.
Tuesday’s ambush happened in the Tongpal area of Sukm