Suspected Maoist rebels have ambushed and killed 10 paramilitary soldiers in one of India’s deadliest attacks so far this year.
Eight soldiers died instantly, and two died on the way to the hospital, while five others soldiers were wounded, PK Thakur, the state of Bihar’s director general, told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
Three rebels were also killed in the incident on Monday afternoon.
Police said the paramilitary soldiers were carrying out an anti-Maoist operation in the forests of Bihar state’s Aurangbad district, when rebels detonated a series of homemade bombs.
Following the explosions, the soldiers found themselves isolated on lower ground, PK Thakur said.
“The police party had almost 100 troops. The first group got trapped in an area of land mines and there were serial blasts,” Thakur said.
“We are investigating if we were lured to the area,” Kundan Krishnan, Bihar inspector general of police, told AFP news agency, adding that it was a “well planned attack”.
“We called off the operation late at night as we suspect more mines were planted in the area,” said Saurabh Kumar, a deputy inspector general of police in the region.
“We are in control now.”
Maoist rebels said they are fighting to secure the rights of the poor and marginalized.
The ambush was just their most recent in a string of attacks.
In March, seven police officers were killed when their truck hit a rebel-planted landmine in central Chattisgarh state.
Maoists also killed 13 police officers and wounded 12 in a remote part of Chhattisgarh in December 2014.
The Indian government describes the Maoist rebellion as the country’s most serious internal security threat.