Maoist rebels kill 3 Indian government soldiers, young girl

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Maoist rebels killed three paramilitary soldiers patrolling on motorbikes and a young girl who was riding in a passing bus in an ambush Friday in eastern India, police said.

Police Director-General D.M. Awasthi said two young girls in the bus were hit by bullets fired by the rebels in Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh state and one died.

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The Press Trust of India news agency said the rebels took an assault rifle, bullets, a bulletproof vest and a wireless set from the dead soldiers.

The Maoist rebels, who claim inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting India’s government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers and the poor. They frequently attack government forces in several parts of India.

Last month, the insurgents attacked a van carrying police commandos in western Maharashtra state and killed 15 officers and their driver.