In the first major attack since the November killing of top Maoist leader Koteswar Rao or Kishenji, 13 policemen were killed in two landmine blasts triggered by Maoists in Jharkhand on Saturday.
The incident happened in the jungles of Shalo in Garhwa district, 275 km north of capital Ranchi, when 15 security personnel in an anti-landmine vehicle were accompanying the Bhandaria block development officer (BDO).
The BDO, who was in another vehicle, escaped unhurt as the rebels triggered the blast only after the first vehicle had passed. He had been instructed by his seniors to pacify villagers who had blocked a road over the selection of a spot for a health centre. Two policemen, who survived the attack, were airlifted to Ranchi for treatment.
“It was a death trap," said director general of police GS Rath, who is supervising the rescue operation. Minutes after the incident, a Maoist leader called up a few local newspapers and claimed responsibility for the attack.
Condemning the attack, chief minister Arjun Munda said a committee would be formed to probe the incident.