Naxals ambush, kill 26 CRPF men in Chhattisgarh
Less than three months after their biggest attack on security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on April 6, Maoists killed at least 26 CRPF men in an encounter following two ambushes in the state’s Narayanpur district. HT reports. Chronology: Naxal attacks | See map | Full coverageindia Updated: Jun 30, 2010 09:01 IST
The district, less than 200 km from Dantewada, is also in the impoverished Maoist-dominated Bastar region where the April 6 massacre killed 75 CRPF men and a state policeman.
On Tuesday, around 60 securitymen, mostly CRPF personnel and some district policemen, were returning to their base camp on foot when the Maoists opened fire on them.
In New Delhi, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai confirmed the deaths. “Reinforcements were sent from a nearby camp. The rest have returned to the camp,” he said.
Though none of the state’s top police officers were available to comment on the Maoist attack, official sources said security forces in Narayanpur were on a combing operation ahead of the two-day shutdown called by the Maoists on Wednesday and Thursday.
The sources added the death toll was likely to rise as several injured personnel rushed to hospital were in critical condition.
An Indian Air Force helicopter was pressed into the rescue operation to airlift the injured men from the ambush site to Jagdalpur.
"There were two ambushes within an interval of half-an-hour, followed by an encounter which continued for more than two hours," the sources added.
There was however no report of any casualties inflicted on the extremists.
"The attack apparently once again exposed the failure of intelligence. The forces were ill-informed about the presence of Maoists in huge numbers in the nearby jungles,” a guerrilla warfare expert said on condition of anonymity.
This is the third major attack by the Maoists after the Dantewada massacre of April 6. On May 17, 36 people, including 12 special police officers were killed by Maoists who attacked a bus in Dantewada.
That attack was preceded by one in which eight CRPF men were killed in Bijapur district on May 8.