At least eight people have been killed, including six policemen, in a landmine blast blamed on Maoist rebels in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, police have said.

The attack in Gaya district, 155km south of Patna, the state capital, also killed a village elder and a police informer who were travelling in the same vehicle as the policemen, the district police chief said late on Friday.

"The Maoists targeted a convoy heading out on patrol duty, killing six policemen in Gaya district," NH Khan told the AFP news agency.

The attack comes barely a month after Maoists shot dead seven policemen in the neighbouring state of Jharkhand.

"IED might have been used in the landmine blast. We have intensified operations," the state director general of police, was quoted as saying by the Indian Express newspaper.

The Maoists, who claim inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been described by the government as the country's most serious internal security threat.

They are demanding land and jobs for impoverished tribal communities they say have been ignored by the successive state and federal governments.

The Maoists have been fighting in several states, mainly tribal areas, for more than 40 years.

The simmering conflict pits the rebels against local and national authorities in the forests and rural areas of mainly central and eastern India.

Source: Agencies