April 4, 2021 3:32:34 am
At least five security personnel were killed, more than two dozen suffered serious injuries and some are feared missing after an exchange of fire between security forces and Maoists Saturday in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur, police said.
Two Maoists, including a woman, were also killed after the three-hour gunbattle, police said.
Officials said the body of only one of those killed could be recovered by late tonight. Seven personnel were in a “critical condition,” police said, and were airlifted to Raipur – the others were brought to the Bijapur district hospital.
On April 2, more than 2000 personnel from at least five camps in Sukma and Bijapur had gone into the forest around Tarrem in Bijapur district, 60 km from the district headquarters.
They had launched a major anti-Naxal operation, said state Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) O P Pal. The forces were gathering in Silger forests at around 1 pm when they were attacked by Maoists in Tekulugudam and Jonnaguda villages, on the Sukma-Bijapur border.
“A huge group of Maoists attacked the police personnel. But our teams fought valiantly. We have managed to cause severe damage to the Maoists as well,” a senior police official said.
Of the five killed, two are from the District Reserve Guard (DRG); two from the Bastariya battalion raised by the CRPF and one jawan is from the CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), Bastar IG P Sundarraj said.
Heat turned on Maoists
the encounter comes 10 days after five security personnel were killed when Naxals blew up their bus in Narayanpur, the first major attack this year. This operation was meant to target Hidma, a key Maoist leader, and inflicted “heavy losses,” police said.
The operation was mounted against Battalion No. 1 Area Commander Hidma, one of the most dreaded and wanted Maoists. He has been responsible, police said, for several attacks against security forces. Sources believe Hidma was “actively present” in the area and his team was responsible for the attack Saturday.
Officials said security personnel were trapped in an ambush while returning from the operation.
Saturday’s encounter comes 10 days after five DRG personnel were killed when Naxals blew up their bus with an IED in Narayanpur district.
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