Indian authorities say separatist rebels have killed 16 Indian soldiers in an ambush in the country's northeastern Tripura state.

Police say the soldiers were guarding a road construction project near the town of Dangabari when they were ambushed Tuesday morning.

Reports say some 50 rebels attacked the soldiers, killing 15. Another soldier died of his wounds while being brought to a local hospital.  One rebel was killed in the firefight.

Police officials also say the rebels took weapons and ammunition from the dead soldiers.

Authorities have blamed the National Liberation Front of Tripura - which is fighting for an independent homeland in the area - for the attack.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.