Indian Naxal rebels kill 40 by blowing up bus

09:42, May 18, 2010      

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Indian extreme left-wing Naxal rebels killed at least 40 people Monday by blowing up a bus with a home-made bomb in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, said police.

Among the dead were several Special Police Officers (SPOs), civilians who were helping government forces fighting the rebels, and other plain civilians. The attack took place in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, which saw in early April a bloody massacre of 76 security personnel by the rebels.

Police said the rebels used Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at around 4:45 p.m. local time.

Official sources had earlier put the number of deaths at 45.

The IED was planted on a metal road and detonated by the Maoists using remote control device, said police.

Indian Home Ministry, while condemning the attack, said no formal Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were on the bus.

Last month, nearly all the security personnel killed by the rebels were CRPF men engaged in the anti-insurgency operations.

This might signal the shifting of tactics by the rebels to target civilians who support government action against the insurgency, said a Home Ministry official on condition of anonymity.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Chhattisgarh said after the attack that the government should fight "with full strength and vigor" the rebels from now.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday evening after the attack to discuss how to fight the insurgency in the wake of two major attacks in April and May.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the bus was carrying 25 civilians and as many 25 special police officers when it was destroyed.

Chidambaram had then offered to resign after the April attack, taking responsibility for the deaths, but the prime minister had asked him to stay.

Source: Xinhua
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