At least 22 Indian security personnel killed in clash with Maoist insurgents

Members of Indian security forces carry the coffin of one of their colleagues, who died following a battle with Maoist rebels in India's Chhattisgarh state, on April 4.

(CNN)At least 22 members of Indian security forces were killed and 31 injured on Sunday during a four-hour gun battle with Maoist insurgents, officials said.

Security forces in the central state of Chhattisgarh were conducting an operation against the left-wing insurgent group, in the state's Bastar Division, when one of the teams came under attack from the insurgents, chief of Chhattisgarh police DM Awasthi said on Sunday.
They were carrying out a mission to set up camp in an area "considered the stronghold" of Maoist insurgents, which "agitated them," said Bhupesh Baghel, chief minister of Chattisgarh, on Sunday.
    The ensuing battle included "bullets, grenades and rocket launchers" from both sides, he added.
      Search operations for a missing security member are still underway.
      "We have received information that he is alive and is somewhere in the depths of the jungle, our rescue operation is ongoing," said Sundar Raj P, Inspector General of Police in Bastar, on Tuesday.
      He added that they suspected that the missing official was abducted when they couldn't find his body or any signs that he had died.
      The government has been embroiled in a decades-long conflict with Maoist rebel groups, also known as Naxals, who launch attacks on government forces in an attempt to overthrow the state and usher in a classless society. Maoists are largely active in central India, in regions mainly populated by tribal peoples.
      Militant attacks in several states, including Maharashtra, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, where the rebel movement still has traction, are common.