In an audacious attack on Friday night, nearly 500 heavily-armed Naxals came in vehicles, besieged Nayagarh and Dasapalla towns, killed 13 policemen and one civilian, looted all the arms and ammunition stored in two police armouries and retreated into the forests after driving in a hijacked bus for nearly 40 km.
After wreaking mayhem in Nayagarh town where 11 police personnel were killed, the Maoists even visited a restaurant located in the busy market area, ate, packed food for their comrades and paid their bills to the hotel owner. Before leaving, one of the Maoists did not forget to make a brief speech about their ideology and why ordinary citizens should not be afraid of their activities.
Nayagarh superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar said the Maoists were dressed as civilians and launched simultaneous attacks around 10.15 pm on Friday on the district armoury, police training school (PTS) armoury and the police stations of Nayagarh, Nuagaon, Daspalla and the Mahipur police outpost. While eyewitnesses said some Maoists even came with a wedding procession, the district SP refused to confirm this. Since the Naxals drove towards Daspalla after the armoury raids, they “neutralised” all the police stations and outposts located on the Nayagarh-Daspassa state highway.
Though the policemen guarding the armouries were outnumbered completely, they resisted for nearly two hours. “The policemen fought valiantly for more than two hours. The casualty would have been far less had they not fought back and merely surrendered,” Kumar added.
Maoists first emptied the district armoury located near the police station where six personnel belonging to the state police were killed after fiercely resisting the attackers. Similarly, Naxals killed four policemen at the PTS armoury. Jugal Kishore Pradhan, a sepoy who survived the attacks at the PTS armoury told Hindustan Times, “We were relaxing around 10.25 pm when suddenly a vehicle smashed the gate of the armoury and a volley of gunfire greeted us. The sentries returned fire, but Maoists lobbed grenades and hurled bombs. They tied our hands and asked us to lie on the ground. While our strength was only 18, they numbered nearly 250.”
According to preliminary estimates, the Maoists fled with 1,100 arms including pistols, rifles, light machine guns (LMGs), AK-47s and self-loading rifles (SLRs). The arms were loaded on trucks and taken away.