Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Dec 1:
At least 13 CRPF personnel, including two officers, were killed when Maoists ambushed a contingent of the 223rd battalion was returning after an area domination operation in the jungles, 9 km from the Chintagumpha area in Sukma district close to the Odisha border late this afternoon.
Confirming the death of 13 CRPF personnel, addirional director general of police (DGP) RK Vij said; “The ambush took place at Kasalnar village 10-11 km south of Chintagumpha. Initial reports say the Maoists, who were lying in wait, enciccled the CRPF contingent from all four sides and started firing on them.”
“There are enough security forces in the area and the operation id still on,” he said.
The attack comes a day ahead of the PLGA week celebrated by the Maoists every year and three days after 12 Maoists were reportedly killed in a CRPF operation at Kasalpur village, not far from the place where today’s ambush took place.
Among the 13 killed were assistant commandant BS Verma and deputy commandant Rajesh Karporia, sources in the CRPF said.
Heavily armed Maoists fired on the CRPF party from both sides as it was making its way back to their base at Chintagumpa. Unconfirmed reports suggest the Maoists used a combination a blasts and IEDs before raining bullets on the CRPF patrol party.
The CRPF personnel fired back and some Maoists are believed to have been killed in the counter fire. But there is no definite word on the number of those killed.
The CRPF personnel are handicapped by the fact that the 100-strong Maoist contingent is using local tribals as human shields, sources in the paramilitary forces said.
The Maoists reportedly fired on the helicopter that had gone to the area to rescue those injured in the ambush.
The exchange fire was still on when reports last came in from the area.