Asia

Police search forests in India after 21 Maoist rebels killed

Security forces were hunting through forests in southeast India for Maoist rebels after a fierce gunfight left 21 rebels dead and two policemen wounded.

The gunfight broke out late Sunday after police received a tip that 60 Maoist rebels were gathered in forests on the border of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh states, said a police officer speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

The gunfight lasted an hour before the rebels scattered into the dense forests. At daybreak Monday, police and paramilitary soldiers launched a search for them, he said.

The rebels, who say they're inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than five decades to demand rights and jobs for the poor.