Bhubaneswar: Maoist guerrillas issued a public apology Saturday for having blown up an ambulance and killing five "innocent" people in Orissa`s Kandhamal district last month.
The rebels issued a statement which was received by some mediapersons in Phulbani town, the district headquarters of Kandhamal.
Communist Party of India-Maoist Orissa unit secretary Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil said in the statement that the rebels were sorry that some innocent people had been killed.
One of the journalists who received the statement quoted Sunil as having said that the rebels triggered the blast on a tip-off that the vehicle was carrying some policemen.
"I have not seen it. However, I was informed by some journalists that they received a statement in which the rebel leader has apologised," Kandhamal district superintendent S. Praveen Kumar told IANS.
Five people, including two women and a child, were killed Nov 27 night when Maoists blew up the ambulance in which they were travelling in a hilly and forested area of Kandhamal district.
The landmine blast took place near Brahmanigaon, some 350 km from Bhubaneswar, when the victims were on their way home in a nearby area after admitting a pregnant woman in a government hospital in neighbouring Ganjam district.
Kumar said police have intensified combing operations in the district to nab the rebels involved in the blast.