RAIPUR  - Indian Maoist rebels ambushed a police patrol and shot dead six officers and a civilian in the central state of Chhattisgarh, a hotbed of left-wing extremism, police said on Monday. The police were heading towards their post in Kirandul town, 475 kilometres (300 miles) south of the state capital Raipur, on Sunday when a large number of rebels attacked them, the local head of the anti-Maoist operation Ramniwas, who uses one name, told AFP. “Six personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force and a civilian driver were killed in the indiscriminate firing by the Maoists,” he said.

The Maoists have been fighting a deadly low-intensity war against authorities for decades for what they say are the rights of tribal people and landless farmers.

India’s government describes the guerrillas as the most serious internal security threat in the country.