Police: 5 Government Soldiers, 3 Maoist Rebels Killed in Fresh Gunbattle in India

At least three Maoist rebels and five paramilitary soldiers were killed in renewed fighting in eastern India on Monday, days after carefully coordinated rebel attacks killed 13 police and two civilians.

Monday's fierce clash took place in a forested area in Bijapur district of Chattisgarh state, nearly 425 kilometers (265 miles) southwest of the state capital of Raipur, said Rajinder Kumar Vij a state police official.

Other details were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, government troops scoured forests in eastern Orissa state for Maoist rebels and reported killing up to 20 of them since the militants launched a coordinated wave of attacks on government targets late last week, T.K. Mishra, home secretary of the Orissa state government, told reporters Sunday night.

Three security personnel also have been killed in gunbattles with the rebels, known as the Naxalites, since Saturday evening, Mishra said.

The skirmishes follow the rebel attacks Friday night on four police stations, a training academy and an armory in Orissa state's Nayagarh district, that killed 13 police officers, a village guard and a civilian.

"We have received reports of the elimination of 20 Maoists. The reports are being confirmed," Mishra said. He gave no other details. About 400 militants took part in Friday's attacks and stole roughly 1,000 weapons, Gopal Chander Nanda, the director-general of the state police, had said earlier.

On Monday, Nanda said security forces seized a truck loaded with the stolen weapons.

The search operations and fighting continued in forested areas in five districts of the state, he said.

"We are hopeful of completing the operation very soon, but we'll continue the operation till we get full success," Mishra said Sunday.

The area is about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) southeast of India's capital, New Delhi.

The guerrillas, who say they are inspired by Chinese communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

They are called Naxalites after Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal state where the movement was born in 1967.

Over the past few years about 2,000 people — including police, militants and civilians — have been killed in the violence.

In March last year, 55 policemen and government-backed militiamen were killed when hundreds of rebels attacked an isolated police station in eastern Chhattisgarh state in one of the bloodiest incidents of the decades-long insurgency.