//India rebels 'kill 13 villagers

India rebels 'kill 13 villagers

Suspected Maoist rebels have killed 13 villagers kidnapped earlier this week in central India, police have said.

Two of the hostages in the state of Chattisgarh were killed on Friday and 11 more on Saturday, police said.

They were among more than 50 villagers taken hostage on Tuesday. Some of the other hostages were reportedly freed.

About 6,000 people have been killed in violence linked to the Maoist rebels in several southern and eastern states over the past 20 years.

Many victims were from the security forces and official government branches.

But many too are villagers, suspected by the rebels of collaborating with the authorities.

So far, there has been no word from the Maoist rebels, known locally as Naxalites, on this latest attack, the BBC’s Paul Anderson reports.

‘Throats cut’

The bodies were found deep in a forest in the Dandewara district.

"The bodies had multiple wound and rebels killed them by slitting throats," senior police officer Praveer Das told Reuters news agency.

The victims were among more than 50 villagers abducted on Tuesday.

Twenty-five villagers were released unharmed on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Parallel administrations

The timing of the attack will not have escaped the notice of the police and the state officials fighting the militants, our correspondent says.

Last month, the Chattisgarh government passed what human rights activists in India and abroad deplored as draconian measures to try to end the insurgency.

Those measures include hefty jail terms for peaceful protesters and for people who aid the rebels, even if it is at gunpoint.

Several weeks ago ministers from 13 state governments met to work out a strategy to tackle the rebels which operates from the border with Nepal in the north to the states of southern India.

The militants are known as Naxalites after the district where their Maoist-inspired movement was born in the late 1960s.

They say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous people and the rural, landless poor.

They have become so powerful in some districts they run their own parallel administrations and justice systems, our correspondent says.

In Chattisgarh, the authorities have given tacit approval to a voluntary people’s movement which stands up to the Maoists.