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At least 26 Maoist rebels killed in gun battle with Indian forces

Earlier in 2021, 22 Indian security forces were killed in an ambush by rebels in Chhattisgarh state. (File photo by AFP)

At least 26 Maoist rebels have been killed in a fierce gun battle with Indian government forces in a remote forest region in the central state of Maharashtra.

Police said Sunday the gunfight took place between police commandos and rebels on Saturday in the Mardintola forest of the Gadchiroli district.

Three commandos were badly wounded in the battle and were airlifted to the city of Nagpur for treatment.

“At least 26 Naxals are dead,” an officer from Maharashtra police told AFP on condition of anonymity, using the local term Naxal for the left-wing Maoist rebels.

A rebel leader was suspected to be among the dead.

“The exact number of casualties and their identities will be known after the bodies are recovered,” Gadchiroli police chief Ankit Goyal was quoted by local media as saying.

The name Naxal is derived from a Maoist rebellion originating in the Naxalbari village of the eastern West Bengal state in 1967.

The deadly clash is the latest in New Delhi's decades-long conflict with Maoist rebels in remote areas across central and eastern India dotted with militant bases.

New Delhi has deployed tens of thousands of special forces to fight the Maoist rebels stretched across the “Red Corridor” which runs through central, southern, and eastern India.

Thousands of security forces, civilians and rebels have been killed in Maoist-related violence in India since 2000.

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