At least thirteen police officers have been killed in an attack by suspected Maoist fighters in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, according to Indian media.

The officers were travelling in a minibus when a landmine was triggered, killing them instantly. Two other men were injured in the blast.

Al-Jazeera reported that they were returning from a search operation in a remote jungle locale.

Security forces have sealed off the Garhwa district and have commenced with a massive manhunt for the culprits.

The Hindustan Times newspaper reported that the killings occurred in the Bariganwa forest in the Bhandari block, about 222 kilometers from the city of Ranchi.

Thousands of the people have died over the past four decades of violence between Maoist guerrillas and the Indian government, primarily in the eastern state of West Bengal.

The fighters are called ‘Naxalites,’ in honor of the West Bengal village of Naxalbari where the group was founded in 1967. Inspired by the Communist revolution of Chairman Mao of China, the Naxalites have demanded land and jobs for impoverished farmers and the poor.