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Indian Maoists release police hostages


Maoist rebels in eastern India on Monday released three police officers they had been holding hostage, three days after they killed another abducted officer, officials said.


The four men were taken captive in the state of Bihar on 29 August during a Maoist raid on security forces that left 10 police officers dead.

“They were treated well, they were given food, they were given tea and they were not told that one of their colleagues was killed,” correspondent Vikram Roy told RFI.

Bihar state chief minister Nitish Kumar, who came under severe criticism for his handling of the hostage crisis, declined to say whether any deals had been done with the guerrillas.

“[Kumar] has to follow the national line that states and national governments are ready to talk to the Maoists, whichever group they may belong, but provided they first give up the arms,” which the Maoists rebels have rejected,  Roy says.

The Maoists had threatened to kill all of the officers unless jailed rebels were freed and security forces withdrawn from areas in the state controlled by the rebels.

“In states like Chhattisgarh […] they virtually control 45,000 square kilometres of forest,” Roy says.

Authorities in New Delhi launched a major offensive last year to tackle the worsening insurgency, but since then the Maoists have retaliated with repeated attacks on the police and paramilitary forces.

More than 200 security force personnel died in encounters with the guerrillas in the first six months of this year nationwide.

In Bihar alone, Maoists have killed 86 policemen and 210 civilians since 2005.

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