Suspected Maoist rebels ambushed a road opening party of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Saturday and killed at least 12 troopers in insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
The attack took place at 9.10am near Kotacheru under Bheji police station in Sukma - one of the worst-Maoist affected districts in the country. The Maoists also looted 10 weapons from the dead personnel in the area around 450km away from the state capital.
“Troops of A/E 219 battalion were on a road opening duty and providing security for road construction in the area when they were ambushed. The ambush was followed up by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack,” a CRPF official said in New Delhi.
Five troopers were injured in the attack. Three of them were stated to be critical initially.
The injured were brought to Raipur and admitted to a government hospital, the official added. One of the critically injured later died, taking the toll to 12.
Besides weapons, the Maoists also looted two VHF radio sets that the CRPF team was carrying. The CRPF party consisted of 112 personnel.
“Since the attack site is an interior area, the only way of communication is through a satellite phone,” said the CRPF official.
Additional forces have been rushed to the spot and the bodies of the dead soldiers are being retrieved, he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the families of slain CRPF personnel .
He also spoke to home minister Rajnath Singh on the situation in Sukma who will be going to Sukma to take stock of the situation.
Saddened by the killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. Tributes to the martyrs & condolences to their families. May the injured recover quickly— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 11, 2017
The home minister said that the Centre was in direct communication with the state government. In a series of tweets, Rajnath Singh said that those who perpetrated the incident will be brought to justice.
I have spoken to CM Ch'garh @drramansingh regarding the Sukma incident. The state govt. is providing all medical assistance to the injured.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 11, 2017
The Centre is in direct communication with the state government. Those who perpetrated this incident in Sukma will be brought to justice— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 11, 2017
Last month, two Special Task Force (STF) personnel, including an assistant platoon commander, were killed in an encounter in Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh.