Maoist rebels killed a cameraman working for a state-run television channel and two policemen in an ambush Tuesday in an insurgency-hit state in central India.

Police officer P. Sunder Raj said two other officers were wounded in the attack in Dantewada district, a Maoist stronghold in Chhattisgarh state.

D.M. Awasthi, the top police officer for anti-insurgency operations, said the cameraman for Doordarshan TV was visiting the area ahead of upcoming state elections, and was riding on the back of a motorbike driven by a police officer who was targeted in the attack along with other police.

The cameraman’s death “is the latest tragedy to afflict the journalistic community in India, which had already been badly hit in recent months,” said Daniel Bastard, head of the Asia-Pacific desk of the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

Four Indian journalists have already been killed in connection with their work this year, and many others have been the targets of violence and threats, he said.

On Saturday, rebels killed four paramilitary soldiers in a bomb blast in the state.

The Maoist rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting the Indian government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers, the poor and indigenous communities.

The government has called the rebels India’s biggest internal security threat.

With thousands of fighters, the rebels control vast swaths of territory spread over several Indian states.

The rebels, also known as Naxalites, have ambushed police, destroyed government offices and abducted officials. They also have blown up train tracks, attacked prisons to free their comrades and stolen weapons from police and paramilitary warehouses.

Source: The Associated Press

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