NEW DELHI – At least five people were killed on Thursday when Maoist rebels attacked a police vehicle in India’s eastern state of Chhattisgarh, police said.
The attack using an explosive device took place around noon in the Dantewada district of the poll-bound state when a Central Industrial Security Force convoy was passing by, Gorkhnath Baghel, additional superintendent of police, told EFE.
Four civilians and a security official were killed, he said, adding three more were wounded.
The police officer blamed a Maoist rebel group, also known as Naxalites.
Thursday’s attack comes days before the start of two-phase state elections on Nov. 12 and Nov. 20.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to attend an election event in support of his Bharatiya Janata Party in the state, one of the worst hit by leftist violence.
The Naxalite movement, born out of a 1967 revolt in Naxalbari village in West Bengal, seeks to impose a Maoist agrarian revolution in India.
The insurgency continues to be active even after half a century of operations, particularly in the “red belt,” a mineral and resources-rich strip that runs through central and eastern India.
A camera operator from India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan and two police officers were killed on Oct. 30 in an attack by the rebels in Dantewada.
The Maoist conflict in India has caused 12,000 deaths, mostly civilians, over the last few decades.
According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, 345 people have been killed, 89 of them civilians, in leftist extremist incidents in India in 2018 as compared to 333, including 110 civilians, in 2017.