Police say Maoist rebels have ambushed and killed four Indian paramilitary soldiers and wounded another two in an insurgency-wracked central Indian state.

Police officer D.M. Awasthi says the rebels fired on the soldiers, who were on a patrol in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh state on Thursday.

Other details were not immediately available.

The government says the insurgents are the country's most serious internal security threat. The rebels control large swaths of area in central and eastern India and say they are fighting to obtain more jobs, land and wealth from natural resources for poor and indigenous communities.

The rebels, also known as Naxalites, have ambushed police, destroyed government offices and abducted government officials for more than four decades.

They are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.