At least nine police personnel were killed and another two seriously injured in central India when Maoist terrorists ambushed them in Chhattisgarh’s restive Sukma district on Tuesday, hours after another police team came under attack, a top official said.
Maoists blew up a mine protected vehicle carrying 10 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) of 212 battalion on Kistaram–Palodi road around 12.30 pm, said DM Awasthi, special director general of police of the anti-naxal operations unit of Chhattisgarh police.
Eight CRPF men died on the spot while another died during evacuation by helicopter to the state capital Raipur. Additional security forces have been sent to the conflict zone and the district superintendent of police has also reached the spot. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the attack deeply distressing.
Earlier in the day, around 8 am, Maoists targeted the CRPF’s 208 Commando Battalion for Resolute Action in the same district. This triggered an intense fire fight that made Maoists flee.
Senior intelligence officers believe the latest Maoist offensive may be linked to a joint operation by Chhattisgarh police and Telangana Police’s elite Greyhounds on March 2 this year. They killed 10 Maoists including a leader in the forests of Bijapur district bordering Telangana.
Sukma has been witnessing bloody conflicts between security forces and Left-wing extremists for over a decade. On March 11 last year, suspected Maoists killed 12 CRPF personnel in an ambush. Within weeks, they massacred 24 CRPF personnel near Burkapal of south Sukma.
While the government is trying to bring development in the heavily forested state, especially in Maoist-infested regions, the extremists resist such efforts as they want their strongholds to remain inaccessible to public and police. In fact, many CRPF men and state police personnel were shot dead by Maoists as they brought men and machines to lay roads.