Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Friday expressed regret for killing of five polling officials April 16 during Lok Sabha elections in the state, saying the jeep they were in had been mistaken for a security forces' vehicle.
In a press statement issued to the local newspapers, Communist Party of India (Maoist) spokesperson Gudsa Usendi said his outfit regretted the incident and apologised to the family members of the killed officials.
Besides a zonal election officer, four other poll officials were killed while two others sustained serious injuries when rebels blew up the jeep as the officials were on way to a polling station in Maanpur block of Rajnandgaon district.
The Maoist spokesperson said that their cadre mistook the poll officials' vehicle as one of the security forces and detonated the explosive. "Our committee in the area is investigating the matter as to how the lapse occurred. We assure maximum precautions will be taken to avert such lapses in future," he added.
The state went to polls in the first phase for all its 11 Lok Sabha seats. Apart from the five polling officials, two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed in a separate incident on the polling day.