NEW DELHI- Eight Naxals and two policemen were killed Monday in a gunfight between them in central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police said.

The gunfight broke out inside a forest area of Kistaram of Sukma district, about 500 km south of Raipur, the capital city of Chhattisgarh. “A gunfight broke out when a team of security personnel was out on an anti-Naxal operation in the area,” local media quoted a senior police official Abhishek Meena as saying.

“In the gun battle eight Naxals were killed and two personnel belonging to District Reserve Guard (DRG) also lost their lives fighting them.”

Authorities have rushed additional contingents of government force personnel to the area.

On Sunday, two Naxals were killed in adjacent Bijapur district. DRG is a special police unit raised to counter Naxals in Chhattisgarh. Currently Naxals are active in more than a third of India’s 600-odd districts across central and eastern India.

India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh once termed the Naxalite movement as India’s “greatest internal security challenge.”