14 militants killed in gun battle

At least 14 Maoist rebels were killed in a clash with security forces in India’s central state of Chhattisgarh on Monday, DM Awasthi, a senior police officer in charge of counter-insurgency operations said.

“The gun battle broke out in Sukma district, one of the known Maoist strongholds in the state.

“Fourteen Maoists were neutralised in the forests of Sukma in a massive operation we launched after receiving intelligence inputs on the presence of insurgents the region,” Awasthi said.

He said the forces suffered no casualties.

According to media reports, police and paramilitary forces engaged more than 200 Maoists in a fierce gun battle.

Many weapons, including assault rifles, were recovered from the area, broadcaster NDTV reported.

“It is one of the major successes against Maoist militancy in the state,” he said by telephone from the state capital Raipur.

Security forces had launched search operations to track the Maoists, who had fled into the forest following the encounter.

Further details were awaited.

The Maoist guerrillas, who reject parliamentary democracy, said their armed rebellion is to secure rights for the poor and marginalised.

He said that they operate in forest belts in several states across India.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, more than 7,910 people – including civilians, militants and security personnel have been killed in Maoist-related violence in India since 2005. (dpa/NAN)

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