Ten policemen were among 12 persons killed on Thursday afternoon in a powerful landmine blast triggered by Maoists in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, a senior police officer said.
"Rebels set off a landmine blast at Konta forested areas in Dantewada district that ripped through a private jeep killing 12 persons included 10 policemen of Mizo battalion deployed in the district for counter insurgency operations," District Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma told IANS.
The officer said that the jawans were returning to Banda locality from Konta in the jeep that rebels targeted at about 2 pm. near Murliguda hamlet, 540 km from here, close to Andhra Pradesh border.
Sharma added that two civilians killed might be the driver and the helper of the vehicle.
"The jawans were returning to the base camp after completing their duty at a weekly market in Konta. However, they committed a suicidal lapse by boarding the private vehicle despite strict warning that the jawans should move only on foot in the forested interior Maoist hotbed pockets to avoid landmine attacks," a senior police officer of police headquarters here told IANS.
Reinforcement has been rushed to the blast site.
Chhattisgarh is one of 13 Indian states hit by Maoist violence. Maoists run a parallel government in forested interiors of Bastar region included Dantewada and Bijapur districts spread out in about 40,000 sq km areas.
At least 240 persons have been killed in the Maoist violence so far in 2007 in the state, including 112 policemen.