The renewed attacks have cast doubt as to how prepared security forces are in fighting the Maoists [File: Reuters]

A bomb blast allegedly triggered by Maoist rebels has killed at least 10 police officers in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, officials say.

Friday's early morning attack in the forested areas of the mineral rich region hit security vehicles, a senior police official said.

"It was a massive blast," Ram Niwas, additional director-general of police [Maoist operation], told the Reuters news agency. "The anti-landmine vehicle was tossed up in the air by the blast before it landed in pieces," he said. 

The attack took place 400km from the state capital, Raipur, hours after the rebels killed five policemen in a raid on a security forces camp.

It also comes hours before fighters shot dead five policemen in a raid on an armed forces camp.

The Maoists' violent campaign against the government began as a peasant revolt in the late 1960s. The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor and the disenfranchised.

The latest string of attacks, including a blast last month that killed seven policemen, has led to fears that security forces are poorly equipped to deal with the threat.

Source: Agencies