Indian Maoist rebels abduct state official

Maoist rebels in the eastern Indian state of Orissa have kidnapped a senior local official and demanded an end to security force operations in the area, police said Thursday.

R. Vineel Krishna, chief administrator of the insurgency-hit Malkanagiri district, and one of his aides were taken hostage on Wednesday night 620 kilometres (380 miles) south of the state capital Bhubaneswar.

The Maoists sent a hand-written note demanding the freeing of all jailed rebels and the withdrawal of police and paramilitary units fighting rebels in the region.

"We have not managed to contact the abducted district magistrate, but we are doing everything we possibly can to secure his release," Sanjeev Marik, head of anti-Maoist operations in Orissa, told AFP.

India's home minister said earlier this month that security forces were locked in a "stalemate" with Maoist insurgents across a swathe of northern and eastern states despite a crackdown in 2010.

The left-wing guerrilla movement, which began in 1967, feeds off land disputes, police brutality and corruption and is strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources.

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