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At least 16 people including CRPF jawans and police personnel were reported to have been killed and several others injured in a Maoist ambush on the border of Sukma and Bastar district on Tuesday morning.
Chhattisgarh DIG (Intel) Dipanshu Kabra said 11 CRPF jawans, four police personnel and one civilian killed.
An assistant commandant rank officer of the CRPF is believed to be among those feared killed.
"Inspector Subhash of CRPF was leading a team of around 40 security personnel. He was also killed. We suspect that the Maoists
have escaped towards Odisha border. We have launched STF operations to trace them. Three injured jawans have been shifted to Jadgalpur. Two are of CRPF, one district force," Chhattisgarh DIG (Intel) Dipanshu Kabra said. "Some Maoists might have been killed, but we do not have the details," he added.
This is the biggest Maoist attack on security forces in Chhattisgarh in the last few years after 11 cops of Chhattisgarh police were killed in August 2011 in Bijapur district.
Significantly, the spot of Tuesday's attack is not far from the last May's Darbha ambush when 27 persons, including senior Congress leaders were killed.
Last year, 25 persons were killed on May 25, including Congress leaders Mahendra Karma and Nand Kumar Patel. The spot of the attack was a 10-minute drive away from two thanas,in Darbha and Tongpal. The Congress convoy was under attack for over 90 minutes,but neither the police nor the CRPF company stationed at each of the thanas could help.
Maoists first exploded an IED and then opened fire at the CRPF party that was on way to provide security to a road construction team. The rebels also snatched several weapons from the deceased. Injured cops have been taken to Tongpal police station.
A chopper has flown from Raipur to collect the bodies. DGP AN Upadhyaya, ADG (Naxal Ops) RK Vij are likely to visit the spot later in the day.
(With PTI inputs)
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Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal
Raipur: In a major attack, Naxals Tuesday ambushed a joint team of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and state police in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, killing at least 20 jawans and injuring several others.
Dipanshu Kabra, DIG, State Intelligence Bureau told ANI that 20 jawans have been martyred in the attack while three have been injured.
A civilian was also reported killed in the attack.
"Officials on the spot say some Naxals may also have been killed in firing," Kabra said.
"It was an ambush. There are reports of around 150 Naxals present there," Kabra said further, making clear the scale of the attack.
CRPF sources had earlier said that 15 of their personnel and five from the state police may have been killed in the ambush. An assistant commandant rank officer of CRPF is believed to be among those feared killed.
The attack took place in a dense forest at Tahakwada between Tongapal and Jeeram Ghati in Sukma district.
Chhattisgarh Police ADG (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta informed that a joint team of CRPF and state police was attacked by a large group of Naxalites at the 'Jeeram Nullah' under the Tongapal Police Station area of the district.
Sources said a squad of 44 personnel, including 30 CRPF and 14 state police, were out for an operation when Naxals triggered landmine blasts and firing leading to the killings.
"We are getting reports of blasts and firing. For the time being the firing has stopped. Reinforcements have been sent," RK Vij, ADG (Naxal operations), said.
"Exact situation will be assessed once we reach the spot of encounter," he said further, adding, "Exact location of the ambush is between Tongapal and Jeeram; the spot is 5 kilometres from Tongapal."
Following the attack, an encounter broke out between the CRPF-police personnel and Maoists. Reinforcements have also been rushed to the spot, where fierce firing was reported between the two sides. The area is reported to be 'heavily mined'.
Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra confirmed the attack, but did not specify the death toll.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said they are "getting information, (but) cannot say anything right now".
State Chief Minister Raman Singh has called an emergency meeting of the Chief Secretary, ACS Home, DGP and other high ranking officers to asses the situation.
Police sources had earlier said that the firefight started at around 10:30 am this morning, adding the death toll is expected to rise.
The incident took place in the same area where Naxalites had killed 76 police personnel in April 2010.
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