Three koya commandos were killed and six jawans injured in a fierce gunfight with Maoists at Modpalli in Dantewada on Monday, about 500 kms south of Raipur. Two security personnel are reported to be missing.
Koya commandos are specialised unit raised by Chhattisgarh police from locally recruited special police officers in Bastar.
The police claimed the forces shot dead at least 30 Maoists in the encounter, though not a single body of the rebels was recovered. Modpalli is barely 10 kms away from Chintalnar where 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were butchered by Maoists on April 6 last year.
The Bastar Inspector General of Police T J Longkumer told Hindustan Times that the operations were carried out jointly by the district police, koya commandos and central forces, after the intelligence inputs about the heavy presence of Maoists in the area were received.
"We lost three men in the encounter. Reinforcement and rescue team have been rushed to the site. The operation will continue for few more days", said Longkumer.
"Based on the information received from the villagers and the police personnel who returned, as many as 30 guerillas were killed in the encounter. But the rebels took away the bodies, which is their usual practice. It was a successful mission", said Rajesh Mishra, Inspector general of police (anti-Maoists operation).
The injured jawans who were airlifted by a chopper from the encounter site and admitted at Jagdalpur hospital in Bastar told that the gun battle continued for over an hour. "We were into the operation since last couple of days. At around 11 am today, the forces were ambushed by Maoists deep inside the forest resulting into fierce exchange of fire. The rebels were firing from top. During the gunfight we saw bodies of rebels falling from trees", the injured jawans told local TV reporters.
Special task force, paramilitary personnel and the district police have been pressed into intensified search operation, the Dantewada Police told HT.