A paramilitary soldier is carried on a stretcher to be treated after he was injured in an attack by suspected Maoist rebels in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Pic: AP.

PATNA, India (AP) — Police say Indian Maoist rebels killed 12 people in two separate attacks in the central state of Chhattisgarh as they continue a campaign of violence aimed at disrupting a five-week national election.

Police Director General A.N. Upadhyay says a land mine set by the rebels exploded Saturday and killed five election officials and two bus drivers traveling from Kutru to Bijapur before planned balloting there next week. The blast also injured four people.

(MORE: Fear of Maoist extremists overshadows India’s elections)

In another attack, the rebels killed five paramilitary soldiers traveling in the remote Darbha Forest.

The rebels have also asked voters to boycott the polls. They have been fighting since the 1960s for a greater share of natural wealth and more jobs for the poor. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called them India’s greatest internal security threat.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.