Sukma Naxal attack: Tip-off by villager, 3-hour gunfight – all you need to know about the ambush

A jawan who survived the attack with injuries later gave statements to the media that the Maoists used villagers to scour the area and trace the party’s location. The villagers then gave the tip-off to the Maoists who then launched the ambush.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 25, 2017 5:30:44 pm
sukma, chhattisgarh, sukma encounter, chhattisgarh encounter, chhattisgarh, sukma, madhra pradesh, MP police, indian express CRPF personnel carrying the body of a martyred jawan after the encounter in Sukma, Chhattisgarh on Monday, April 24, 2017.

Hundreds of Naxals carried out an ambush on Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) personnel on Monday. It was one of the deadliest Naxal attacks in recent years and at least 25 personnel were killed in the ambush. The attack took place around noon in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. Hundreds of Naxals ambushed a foot-patrolling party of 99 men from the CRPF 74 Battalion that was tasked with giving security cover to an under-construction road project. Naxals attacked the CRPF party and afterwards decamped with the AK-47 rifles they stole from the killed or injured jawans. Here is all you need to know about the attack.

–The attack took place in Sukma which is in the state’s south Bastar region – the region worst hit by Naxal violence in the state. It lies in the southernmost part of the state and borders Telangana, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the major Naxal strongholds and is surrounded by areas also hit badly with Naxal violence like Malkangiri, Bijapur and Dantewada.

–This was the second major attack by Naxals this year. The last attack took place on March 12 in Sukma where 12 CRPF jawans were killed.

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— On April 24, a patrol party of 100 CRPF men from the 74 Battalion were patrolling the area and providing security cover to the road construction project that was taking place in Kala Pathar. The place is near Chintagufa in Sukma.

–At around 12:25 pm, a group of nearly 300 Maoist guerrillas surrounded the party. The ambush was timed just around the time the party was settling for lunch and were caught off guard. A jawan who survived the attack with injuries later gave statements to the media that the Maoists used villagers to scour the area and trace the party’s location. The villagers then gave the tip-off to the Maoists who then launched the ambush.

–Eye witness accounts revealed that the Naxals attempted to surround the party and the gunfight went on for nearly three hours. The Maoists were equipped with weapons like Ak-series assault rifles which they possibly stole from security personnel in previous encounters.

–The CRPF later released a statement that read: “The CRPF troops replied in a befitting manner but taking geographical position in their advantage, Maoists succeeded in inflicting loss to CRPF. Considerable number of Maoists are believed to have been eliminated (by CRPF men) as the tell-tale sign indicate from the ground.”

–The force has not been able to recover any bodies of killed Naxals. However, some jawans have stated in reports that over a dozen Naxals would have been killed in the gunfight.

–Once the intense gunbattle subsided, two Mi-17V5 choppers took off from Jagdalpur on a rescue and evacuation operation. It airlifted injured personnel to Raipur hospitals and recover bodies of the slain personnel. A major combing operation was launched by security forces later but it didn’t bear any significant results.

–Among the 25 personnel who were killed, there was an inspector and a sub-inspector, three ASIs, six head constables and 14 constables.

–The wounded who survived the attack and currently admitted in the hospital are Assistant Sub-Inspector RP Hembram and Constables Swaroop Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Jitendra Kumar, Sher Mohammed and Latoo Oraon.

–Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh who was in Delhi had to cut his visit short and hold an emergency meeting over the Naxal situation in the state. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Centre has promised that it will take action against the perpetrators of the attack and none of them will be spared.

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–The position of full-time CRPF chief is vacant since February 28 this year when the last chief K Durga Prasad retired. CRPF is India’s largest paramilitary force.

–Maoist guerrillas affiliated to left wing extremist political parties like the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) have a strong hold over the region and a Maoist edict is popularly followed as a form of parallel government.

–Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the attack as cold-blooded murder. Sukma has seen many such bloody attacks in the past. A few years ago, 76 personnel were massacred by Maoists in the region. Regular attacks on security forces takes place as the Maoists try to keep a hold on the Red corridor.

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