RAIPUR : Maoist rebels opened fire and triggered landmines in India’s restive Chhattisgarh state Friday, killing six policemen in the latest in a string of deadly attacks on security forces.

The insurgents attacked the policemen as they were on a combing operation near Shyamgiri jungle in Dantewada district, about 263 kilometres (164 miles) from state capital Raipur.

“A team of 12 policemen was trying to secure an area when the Maoists detonated landmines and started firing indiscriminately at them,” police director general Amarnath Upadhyay told AFP.

“Six policemen died on the spot. We have rushed reinforcements and are awaiting further details,” he added.

The Dantewada district witnessed one of the worst-ever incidents involving security forces in April 2010 when guerrillas killed at least 60 policemen in an ambush.

The Maoists have become a potent insurgent force, demanding land and jobs for the poor and fighting for a communist society by toppling what they call India’s “semi-colonial, semi-feudal” form of rule.

The insurgency is believed to have cost tens of thousands of lives, with much action focused around the insurgent-dominated, so-called “Red Corridor” stretching through central and eastern India.

Critics believe military action is not enough to stem the unrest, saying the real solution is better governance and development.

Earlier this month, police gunned down seven rebels in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra and recovered weapons including AK-47s.

Last December, the Maoists killed seven policemen in a landmine blast in eastern India.