The Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district which killed 12 CRPF personnel appeared to have been “pre-planned” and executed with “deadly accuracy”, police said on Sunday.
Besides triggering IED blasts and indiscriminate firing, the Maoists also lobbed country-made mortars and “Rambo-style” explosive-headed-arrows on security personnel during the ambush, they said.
“As per preliminary investigation, it was learnt that the attack was pre-planned and executed by two military platoons of Maoists active in Bhejji periphery. The security forces seem to have walked into a trap,” a senior police official told PTI.
Around 8am on Saturday, a Road Opening Party (ROP) of CRPF’s 219th battalion, comprising around 120 personnel, had launched the operation from Bhejji to ensure security to the construction works underway between Injram-Bhejji, he said.
Besides, the ROP was also meant to sanitise the area for the movement of villagers and traders for the weekly market held every Saturday at Bhejji, located around 450 km from the state capital, the official said.
“It is presumed that ultras were aware of the ROP operation on ‘market day’ and therefore had positioned themselves in the forest ahead of the patrolling team’s movement,” he said.
“When the para-military forces reached around 2 kms away from their camp towards Kottacheru around 8:50am, the naxals surrounded them and unleashed the attack on them by resorting to random firing after triggering a powerful explosion, without giving them any chance to save themselves,” the official said.
The troopers, however, took position and retaliated but till then over a dozen of them were hit by bullets and splinters, he said.
“The naxals also lobbed Rambo-type explosive-headed-arrows and locally-made mortars to inflict injuries on security personnel,” the officer said.
Such locally-made mortars and arrows do not inflict deadly injuries, but reportedly prove to be a great tool to thwart opponents in such an ambush, he said.
The officer further added that such grenade-headed-arrows were also used in recent attacks on security personnel camp in Narayanpur and Kondagaon districts of Bastar division.
It was the biggest attack on security forces in the last one-and-a-half year in the state.
Notably, Injram-Bhejji patch is part of the strategically important road being built from Dornapal to inaccessible Jagargunda.
The newly-appointed inspector general of police (incharge), Bastar range, Sundarraj P had last month visited Jagargunda and assured the people that the construction of the Dornapal-Jagargunda road will be completed soon.
Through such attacks, they (the rebels) want to thwart development works, police said.
Security personnel have been put on alert fearing Maoist offensive activities in view of annual ‘tactical counter offensive campaign’ being observed by rebels from March to June.
“The summer season proves to be a favourable period for carrying out Maoist attacks as the grass and bushes dry up providing a clear view of force movement in the vast jungle terrain,” the official added.