BHUBANESWAR - Maoist guerrillas have abducted two Italian tourists from a remote district of India's eastern Orissa state, marking a potential escalation of a decades-long rebel war considered India's most serious internal security threat.
"We have imprisoned two Italian tourists," Sabyasachi Panda, organizing secretary of the state committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, said in an audio message sent to local reporters and obtained by Reuters.
He said the tourists were seized after they were spotted taking photos of women from one of India's indigenous tribes who were bathing in a river.
Prime Minister Manmoham Singh has declared the longstanding rebellion the biggest single threat to internal security. Hundreds die each year in violence linked to the insurgency but the guerrillas are not known for targeting foreigners.