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Prowess of the Maoists
Indian Insurgents Kill 14 in Election-Related Attacks

Maoist rebels killed 14 people in two attacks in central India this weekend. The attacks were likely an attempt to cause havoc during the ongoing national elections. NYT has the story:

Five election officials and two bus drivers were killed when a land mine exploded under their vehicle in the state’s Bijapur district, where voting is scheduled to take place this week, said A. N. Upadhyay, the state director general of police.

After the explosion, the rebels opened fire at the bus. Five people were also wounded in the attack and were being treated in a hospital, Mr. Upadhyay said. The rebels fled into the surrounding forest when paramilitary forces began firing back.

In another attack on Saturday, the rebels killed five paramilitary soldiers and two civilians in an ambush on the soldiers’ vehicle in the remote Darbha Forest in the southern part of the state, said the police inspector general, R. K. Vij. Three soldiers were also wounded in that attack.

With so much violence and unrest in neighboring countries, it’s easy to forget about India’s own security problems. The Maoist insurgency has been around for decades and is active in more than a third of India’s 600 districts. More than 6,000 people have died as a result of fighting between state security forces and the Maoists, who are thought to have about 20,000 fighters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has deemed the insurgents India’s “greatest internal security threat,” according to the NYT. As the second week of India’s elections begins, the government’s extensive security forces will have their work cut out for them in safeguarding voters in the world’s biggest democracy.

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