Raipur: Fifteen security men and a civilian were killed on Tuesday when Maoists sprang a deadly ambush on a patrol in a thickly forested area of Chhattisgarh, a short distance from the spot where 27 people were gunned down last year.
Naxals in a training camp in Chhattisgarh forest. Photo: AFP
Chhattisgarh's Additional Director General (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta said a joint team of CRPF and state police was attacked by a large group of Naxalites at the 'Jeeram Nullah' under the Tongapal Police Station area of the district.
"We suspect 15 casualties," Gupta told reporters. CRPF sources said 15 of its personnel and five from state police may have been killed in the ambush.
An assistant commandant rank officer of CRPF is believed to among those feared killed. The incident took place in the same area where Naxalite had killed 76 police personnel in April 2010.
In New Delhi, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde confirmed the ambush, saying details are still awaited.
Sources said a squad of 44 personnel, including 30 CRPF and 14 state police were out for an operation, when Naxals triggered landmine blasts and firing leading to the killings.
A senior CRPF official said they have recovered the bodies of three of their personnel and are awaiting details as the area is "heavily mined."
Sources said two helicopters have been sent in from Jagdalpur and Raipur to the ambush area with reinforcements drawn from the CoBRA battalion and CRPF.
The area is notorious for Naxal activities as it is also to close to 'Jeeram Ghati' where top Congress leadership of the state was wiped out by Maoists in May last year.
According to preliminary information, the joint security squad was deployed for a 'Road Opening' duty in the area for the movement of security forces convoy.
The jawans of CRPF belong to its 8th battalion which is deployed for anti-Naxal operations in the state