Naxalites attacked a police team with light machine guns and mortar bombs in a dense forest area of Chhattisgarh, killing at least 24 security personnel, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
The officer said that a 115-strong team, which included CRPF and district police personnel, was attacked in Dantewada district in the southern Bastar region, about 520 km from state capital Raipur.
Bodies of 24 policemen had been recovered, RK Vij, inspector general of police for Bastar range, told Hindustan Times. Sixteen of the dead were CRPF men. “One unidentified body was also found, believed to be that of a Maoist,” he added.
The police team was sent to the remote Arpalmeta-Regadgatta jungle in Dantewada on Monday after information about a Naxalite camp operating there was received.
“After the gun-battle, 71 personnel returned late at night while another 20 reported on Tuesday morning,” Vij said. He said the remaining policemen were killed during the fierce encounter that lasted for nearly four hours. “The forces which returned also confirmed of heavy casualty inflicted on the Maoists,” he added.
At least 11 security personnel were said to have been wounded, four of them critically. They have been shifted to the district hospital in Jagdalpur, divisional headquarters of Bastar district.