(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
NEW DELHI — Maoist rebels blew up a bus filled civilian and police officers Monday as it drove through central India, authorities said. News reports said 40 people were killed in the attack.
The attack took place in the state of Chhattisgarh, which has been the site of fierce fighting between the Maoists and government forces in recent months.
A passenger bus filled with civilians and police was traveling through
the area Monday afternoon when it was hit by a rebel land mine, said
Rajender Kumar Vig, a top police official in the area.
Attacks by the Maoists, known as Naxalites, have been increasing
recently. Rebels ambushed a paramilitary patrol last month, killing 76
troops, and kidnapped and killed six villagers over the weekend,
alleging they were police informants.
The rebels, who have tapped into the rural poor's growing anger at being
left out of the country's economic gains, are now present in 20 of the
country's 28 states and have an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fighters,
according to India's home ministry.