At least 49 police officers were killed when suspected communist rebels attacked a remote post in the jungles of eastern India today.
The pre-dawn attack appeared to have caught the 79 officers guarding the post by surprise, said police officer NK Swarnkar.
Another 12 officers were wounded in the attack, Swarnkar said.
The post is in the state of Chattisgarh, 930 miles south-east of New Delhi.
Before fleeing with stolen weapons, the attackers scattered land mines around the area, making it difficult for security forces to give chase.
The assault was the latest in a series of attacks on security forces in the region, where widespread poverty has fuelled a lengthy insurgency.
More than 6,000 people – police, soldiers, and civilians – have been killed since the rebels launched their campaign from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh more than two decades ago.
The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural labourers and the poor.
The rebels, known as Naxalites from the Naxalbari region where the movement was born, are mainly active in six of India’s 28 states: Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and Chattisgarh.