A Cobra jawan of the CRPF and eight tribals were killed during a fierce gun battle with the Maoists at Ekalmeta in Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh late Friday night.
The residents Ekalmeta claimed that as many 20 tribals had been missing since the gunfight. The ADG (anti-Maoist operation) RK Vij, however, confirmed that only eight bodies of tribals had been recovered besides that of the jawan. The police have are trying to ascertain their identities.
The encounter took place when a joint party of the CRPF and the state police was out on a combing operation through a remote interior Gangalur forest on Friday night.
“There was an encounter with the naxals during late night on Friday. After the bodies were found, it needs to be investigated whether the tribals were caught in cross-fire or were used as human shields by the Maoists who fled into the jungle after the security forces retaliated their attack,” Vij said.