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June 29, 2017

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Maoist rebels kill 12 people in poll-related violence in India

RAIPUR, India--Maoist rebels killed 12 people in two poll-related blasts Saturday in an insurgency-hit region of central India, police said, highlighting security worries in the nation's marathon election.

The attacks came as Indians cast ballots in the southern resort state of Goa and in the far-flung northeast in another round of the multi-phase polls that wind up May 12 with results due May 16.

Six polling team officials were killed when Maoists blew up their bus in the state of Chhattisgarh, senior police officer Gurjinder Pal Singh told AFP.

"The Maoists triggered the landmine blasts," Singh, a key official in ensuring election security in the state, told AFP.

Five security men engaged in an election safety operation and another victim were killed in a separate landmine blast that created a huge crater in the road.

The men were blown up near Darbha, where Maoists massacred the top leadership of the Congress party of Chhattisgarh last May.

The blasts, just an hour apart, came just days after Maoist rebels killed three soldiers guarding polling officials in Chhattisgarh in a gun battle.

The deaths underscored the security challenges facing election organizers in India.

Separatist and Maoist insurgencies afflict large swathes of India's northeast, northwest and central regions.

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