- Associated Press - Thursday, April 4, 2019

PATNA, India (AP) - Maoist rebels ambushed and killed four Indian paramilitary soldiers and wounded another two Thursday in an insurgency-wracked central Indian state.

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

They were combing the forest area ahead of voting for India’s national elections scheduled for April 18.

The Border Security Force sent reinforcements who recovered the bodies of the soldiers. There was an exchange of gunfire, but the rebels escaped after the attack, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

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.

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