Suspected insurgents set off bombs and opened fire on police, killing five of them in an ambush in India's (search) remote northeast on Saturday, a news report said.

The assailants escaped with four AK-47 assault rifles (search), a pistol and some ammunition carried by the police patrol in the Napetapalli region near Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, Press Trust of India news agency quoted police as saying.

Five police officers died in the ambush, the report said.

Police reinforcements were searching for the attackers in the area, considered to be a stronghold of the People's Liberation Army and the Kanglei Yawol Kann Lup (search) rebel groups, the report said. It did not give further details.

The attack was the latest in the insurgency-wracked, hilly northeastern region, where dozens of militant groups have been fighting with Indian security forces for decades over demands ranging from wider autonomy to independence.