PATNA, India (AP) — Seventeen policemen were killed and 14 others injured in an attack by Maoist rebels in eastern India, police said Sunday.

The attack took place Saturday afternoon near Elmaguda village in Sukma district, 1,100 kilometers (683 miles) south of Patna, the state capital of Bihar, said Shalbh Sinha, superintendent of police in Sukma.

Sinha said the bodies of 17 policemen were recovered on Sunday after a search operation in the area.

The area is a known stronghold of the rebels, who have been fighting in several Indian states for over 40 years.

The rebels are considered India’s biggest internal security threat and claim inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. They are demanding land and jobs for impoverished tribal communities that they say are ignored by the government.