The brazen Maoist ambush, which left 25 CRPF personnel dead and seven wounded, was likely planned by their commander who was camping in a village barely 7-8km from the scene of the attack, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.
Maoist commander Situ was camping in Tadmetla village, the place where 75 CRPF personnel and one of the state police were massacred in April 2010, for the last few days, he said.
“We got regular inputs on April 22 that Maoist commander Situ was camping at Tadmetla village, around 7-8 km from Burkapal, where the ambush took place yesterday,” the officer involved in anti-Maoist operations told PTI.
“We suspect that the attack was planned by Situ and his group with the support of local lower-rung cadres and militia members,” he said.
The 99-strong CRPF contingent came under heavy gunfire and grenade attack from three sides by the guerrillas, who had taken cover behind rocks and trees on the treacherous terrain.
The Maoist rebels also used locally made arrows tipped with explosives, he said.
As the personnel lay sprawled, slain and wounded, the Maoists looted 22 sophisticated weapons, including grenade launchers, AK rifles, light machine guns, besides wireless sets, binoculars and ammunition of different calibre.
The first ‘military battalion’ of Maoist rebels, suspected to be involved in Monday’s carnage, is headed by Hidma. It has been active in the Bastar region, particularly Sukma, and launched several attacks on security forces. The battalion has two companies -- one headed by Situ and another helmed by Nagesh, the officer said.
The CRPF personnel were providing security for laying of a 58km road linking Dornapal to Jargunda. The hilly, forested area is a haven for Maoists.
The summer months are when they prefer to target security forces as the bushes and other vegetation wilt, providing them a clear view of the movement of the troops from hills, the officer said.
On March 11 this year, 12 CRPF personnel of the 219 battalion were killed and three others wounded in a similar attack in Bheji area of Sukma.