Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel rules out intelligence failure, says ops against Maoists will continue
Chhattisgarh Naxal attack: Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said on Sunday that the security forces were trying to install camps in Maoist stronghold which frustrated them.
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel ruled out "intelligence failure" as the reason behind encounter with the Maoists near Sukma in which 22 soldiers were killed. Baghel also expressed condolences to the breaved families.
"About 2,000 soldiers were sent to install camps in an area which is Naxal bastion. This would have restricted their movement, that's they were frustrated. There was no intelligence failure. We'll surely install camps there," said the chief minister.
"My condolences to bereaved families," he added while speaking to mediapersons.
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The encounter took place on Saturday when multiple teams of security forces were patrolling the area as part of anti-Maoist operation. The state police said that there were 400 Maoists who fired indiscriminately at the security forces from two hilltops.
Calling it a U-shaped ambush, a police official said that the security forces were at a disadvantageous position.
While five soldiers lost their lives on Saturday, 17 more bullet-riddled bodies were recovered on Sunday, the police said. This was one of the biggest attacks on the security forces in Chhattisgarh in recent years.
Union home minister Amit Shah chaired a high-level meeting on the incident in Delhi in which home secretary Ajay Bhalla, Intelligence Bureau Director Arvind Kumar and senior officials of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were present.
Shah cut short his visit to poll-bound Assam and returned to Delhi. He was scheduled to address three rallies, but left the state after addressing the first one. He also spoke to Baghel.
Before leaving Assam, he paid tributes to the families of the soldiers killed and vowed to give a "befitting reply".
The gunfight took place in a forest along the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh police said.
The soldiers who have been killed include personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) and the District Reserve Guard (DRG), the police said.