NEW DELHI, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- India's extreme leftwing rebels Monday released three abducted policemen in the eastern state of Bihar, after holding them hostage for nearly nine days, a senior police official said.
The Naxal rebels had last week killed the fourth policeman who was also taken hostage during an ambush in the state's Lakhisarai district, in which at least seven other security forces personnel were killed.
"All the three policemen of the Bihar Military Police, identified as Abhay Prasad Yadav, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehshan Khan, have been released by the Naxalites from the Kajra-Chanan forest in Lakhisarai district after the police sealed the escape routes of the ultras in the forests and hills," state police chief Neelmani told the media.
Reacting to the release, Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar, who had earlier offered negotiations with and safe passage to the Naxalites, said: "All's well that ends well."
The rebels had earlier threatened to kill all the policemen unless eight of their jailed comrades were released, an exchange offer rejected by the state government.
The release of the three kidnapped cops came after security forces arrested seven Naxals in the last few days during intense search operations in the hills and forests of the district.
More than 200 security personnel have been killed in the first six months of this year by the Naxals, who claim they have been fighting for the rights of the poor and the landless.
But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has termed the insurgency as the country's biggest internal security challenge.