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(Reuters) - Suspected Maoist rebels killed at least 19 people when they ambushed a convoy carrying regional leaders from India's ruling Congress party in dense forest on Saturday, officials said, one of the deadliest such attacks in recent years.The rebels felled trees to block the 20-car convoy in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh and then detonated a landmine and raked the vehicles with gunfire, Indian media reported.Among those killed was Mahendra Karma, a senior Congress leader from Chhattisgarh who founded an anti-Maoist group and was believed to be the main target of the attack. The state's Congress party leader and his son were also killed.Senior Chhattisgarh police official Mukesh Gupta told Reuters by telephone six policemen were among the dead and that 35 people were also wounded in the ambush.
Sonia Gandhi 'devastated' by India Chhattisgarh ambushCongress party leader Mahendra Karma with his bodyguards. File photo Mahendra Karma was instrumental in setting up a movement to fight the MaoistsContinue reading the main story Related Stories Indian police 'killed tribals' Maoist 'threat to India security' Life in an Indian Maoist jungle campThe president of India's Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, has said she is "devastated" by Saturday's attack on party officials in Chhattisgarh state.At least 24 people were killed, including Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, his son, and local leader Mahendra Karma, when suspected Maoist rebels ambushed their convoy.Mrs Gandhi visited some of the wounded with PM Manmohan Singh on Sunday.The prime minister said India would "never bow down" before the rebels.He denounced the "barbaric attack" which he said should be an inspiration in the fight against extremism and violence.Unconfirmed reports said they were unable to visit the scene of the attack because of security concerns.'Firm action'The convoy carrying state Congress leaders and party workers was ambushed at around 17:30 (10:00 GMT) on Saturday as it travelled through the Darba Ghati valley, in the Sukma area about 345km (215 miles) south of Raipur, following a campaign rally.