Seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists on Wednesday in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
The three-vehicle CRPF convoy was returning to its base camp after a search operation when it was ambushed by Maoists at around 3pm near the Basaras-Kuakonda axis in Melawada village. A mini truck carrying seven people in civilian clothes was blown up, followed by heavy firing, said deputy inspector general, CRPF, DP Upadhyay.
Their weapons were also stolen by the attackers before reinforcements arrived at the spot.
Special DG (Naxal operations) DM Awasthi confirmed that the seven jawans were killed instantly in the high-intensity explosion that created a 15-foot crater in the road.
“All the dead security personnel belonged to the 230 battalion of the CRPF,” said Dantewada superintendent of police K Kashyap. Several others were injured in the blast and arrangements for them to be airlifted to Raipur and Jagdalpur were being made on Wednesday evening.
Chief minister Raman Singh condemned the attack.
Dantewada, 350 kilometres south of the state capital, is part of the mineral-rich Bastar region — a Maoist stronghold and the site of frequent clashes with security forces.
Maoists operate in at least 20 states but are most active in the forested areas of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.