Raipur/New Delhi: A new batch of children has been picked by Maoists to be trained as suicide bombers. According to a local intelligence input, the Maoists are planning to use kids as suicide bombers — a strategy employed infamously by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

A top official said that some of the children who are missing from different parts of the country were taken to Naxalite areas and that a joint team has been tasked to rescue them.

"There is an input that these kids are getting trained in using improvised explosive devices (IED) and automatic weapons. They have recently been taken to Maoist-infested areas. As per the input, we have launched a joint team is working to rescue them," a senior CRPF official involved in the operation said.

According to government data, more than one lakh children went missing in a year. More than 50% remained untraced till the end of the year. Also, a recent United Nations report has said that Naxalites recruit children, especially in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

A report came out in June said that the Maoists reportedly resorted to the use of a lottery system to conscript children in Jharkhand. It said children continued to be killed and injured during operations of security forces against the leftist terrorists.

"The strength of the fresh batch is not less than a dozen. These kids have been taken to these areas after keeping them for months in safehouses situated in states sharing borders with Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand," official added.

To train these children, Maoists have now also acquired some imported equipment. Corroborating this, recently, Chhattisgarh Police seized seven foreign-made telescopic sights that can be fitted on top of gun barrels to make the target more clearly visible from a distance.

The LTTE, a Sri Lanka-based terror organisation, had become the first terror outfit to give grenades and weapons in the hands of children. The LTTE used to kidnap children, threatening their families to recruit thousands of children in Sri Lanka.