New Delhi - At least five policemen were killed and six injured Thursday in a landmine blast triggered by suspected Maoist rebels in the central Indian state Chhattisgarh, a news report said. The incident occurred in a hamlet in the southern Surguja district when a joint police team was conducting a search operation.
Police sources told the IANS news agency that three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and two state police died in the blast, 520 kilometres south of state capital Raipur.
Maoist militants, who claim to be fighting for the rural poor, operate in 13 of India's 29 states. They usually target police and government installations.
On August 29, Maoists blew up a jeep in another landmine blast in the state, killing six CRPF men, including an officer.
According to independent estimates, more than 400 people, including civilians, policemen and rebels, have been killed in Maoist violence in India since the beginning of the year.
Indian Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta recently announced that six jungle warfare and counter-insurgency schools would be set up to train security personnel to combat the rebels.