April 13, 2009 3:02:54 pm
At least 11 CISF jawans and four Maoists were killed in a gunfight triggered by a daring pre-poll attack by the ultras on a well-guarded armoury and bauxite mine of Nalco in Orissa’s Koraput district,police said on Monday.
More than 100 workers present at the site during the attack late last night were safe.
“Eleven CISF jawans posted at hilltop mines in Damanjodi were killed and 15 others injured in the gunbattle that continued for over five hours after the ultras struck last night,” Director General of Police M M Praharaj said.
Bodies of four Maoists,including a woman,along with along a light machine gun and a rifle were found at the site,he said.
Striking with precision,over 200 heavily armed Maoists,including women cadre,formed different groups and looted CISF armoury in the mining area and took away at least a dozen rifles and light machine guns.
The well planned attack,apparently aimed at affecting the upcoming polls and loot weapons and explosives,took place shortly after 9.30 pm in Asia’s biggest bauxite mines.
Security force comprising jawans of CRPF,Elite Special Operation Group (SOG) and district police have reached the site,police said. Nalco Chairman and Managing Director C R Pradhan said all workers and employees were safe.
“Maoists are suspected to have fled to Andhra Pradesh either through Parvatipuram or Potangi and a massive combing operation has been launched by the security forces to capture them,” Praharaj said adding,”We are in constant touch with Andhra Pradesh police.”
Maoists had recently attacked Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj,Malkangiri and other places.
The ultras also blew up a mobile phone tower in the site affecting tele-communication besides erecting obstacles on the circuitous hilly roads towards the hilltop.
Maoists had laid land mines and blocked roads by felling trees,making force movement to the site very slow,Praharaj said,adding the security personnel reached the spot early this morning after removing the obstacles.
The hilltop was located at a height of about 4,000 feet above sea level and 15 to 20 km from the foothills and the Nalco township,police said.
A high alert was sounded in the area even as the incident triggered panic among people in nearby township.
Maoists have given a poll boycott call in many areas under their influence and killed a candidate for Malkangiri assembly seat last week.
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