Maoists attack Nalco mine, two CISF jawans feared killed
Striking in a big way ahead of polls, Maoists on Sunday night attacked a well-guarded bauxite mine of public sector NALCO in Orissa's Koraput district in which at least two CISF personnel were feared killed, over 100 workers believed to be trapped and weapons looted from the armoury.india Updated: Apr 13, 2009 02:30 IST
Striking in a big way ahead of polls, Maoists on Sunday night attacked a well-guarded bauxite mine of public sector NALCO in Orissa's Koraput district in which at least two CISF personnel were feared killed, over 100 workers believed to be trapped and weapons looted from the armoury.
A fierce exchange of fire between security forces and Maoists followed the attack by a large number of ultras on Hiltop bauxite mines in Damanjodi area, Deputy Inspector General of Police (south-west range) Sanjeev Panda said.
The heavily armed Maoists, numbering about 200, including some women, looted the CISF armoury in the mine area which contained huge quantities of sophisticated arms and ammunition as well as explosives, police sources said.
The well-planned attack, apparently aimed at affecting the upcoming polls and looting weapons, took place shortly after 9.30 pm when about 22 CISF personnel were inside a canteen at Asia's biggest bauxite mine.
A group of Maoists also attacked a CISF outpost, some 23 kms from the NALCO unit, sources in Delhi said.
Roads leading to the mine were reportedly blocked by the ultras, who were suspected to have laid landmines on the route, hindering movement of securitymen, sources said.
Over 100 workers were feared trapped as the Maoists surrounded the canteen and occupied strategic locations.
Reports from the site said at least two CISF jawans were feared killed. Details about loss of life and damage to structures cannot be confirmed.
Jawans of CRPF, the elite Special Operation Group (SOG) and district police force have been sent to the site to fight the Maoists, sources said.
Even as a fierce gun battle continued till late night, the Maoists also blew up a mobile phone tower in the site, they said adding that movement of additional force was affected due to darkness and obstacles put by the ultras.
Moreover, the Hiltop was located at considerable height at a distance of about 15 km from the foothills.
A high alert was sounded in the entire area even as the incident triggered panic among people in the nearby township.
NALCO CMD C R Pradhan said the workers at the site have been probably locked up somewhere but are not being harmed.
Pradhan said the Maoists could have targeted the mine for seizing explosives stored there. "We store explosives for mining operations. Police had earlier asked us to protect the area well, following which the security was beefed up there."
The attack came close on the heels of Maoist strikes in Malkangiri and Rayagada districts. The ultras have killed Samruddha Odisha party candidate for Malkangiri Assembly constituency.
They have also given a call for boycott of polls in several districts of Orissa.
In 2004, the Maoists had looted police armoury in Koraput district in a daring attack, while armoury and other police establishments had been attacked and looted by the ultras in February, 2008.
First Published: Apr 13, 2009 00:52 IST