Twenty-six CRPF troopers were killed and half a dozen injured when 300 Maoists ambushed them in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Monday afternoon, authorities said.
The guerrillas, who were in hiding, opened fire upon the members of the Central Reserve Police Force's 74th Battalion reached a forested area in Kala Pathar near Chintagufa around 1:30 pm.
An injured CRPF man being brought to Raipur for treatment on Monday. PTI
A police officer said the troopers, who formed a 99-member Road Opening Party, were readying for lunch when they came under a volley of gunfire. The Maoists also hurled hand grenades.
Eleven men were killed instantly and another critically wounded trooper succumbed to his injuries in a Raipur hospital. The ambush triggered a major gun battle between the Maoists and the CRPF.
The wounded, who have been warded in hospitals include assistant sub-inspector RP Hembram and Constables Swaroop Kumar, Mohinder Singh, Jitendra Kumar, Sher Mohammed and Latoo Oraon. Oraon is in critical condition while the others were said to be out of danger. "The injured were evacuated by helicopter," CRPF Deputy Inspector General M. Dinakaran told IANS.
Sukma Senior Superintendent of Police Jitendra Shukla confirmed the deaths.
At least 12 CRPF men were also killed in a similar Maoist attack in Sukma early this year. The incident occurred in the dense forests near Kottacheru village under Bhejji police station, around 450 kilometres away from the state capital, when 112 personnel of CRPF's 219th battalion were out for a road opening task. The Bhejji area in south Bastar region of the state is notorious for Naxal attacks and many security personnel have been killed here in the past.
In 2010, a similar attack in Sukma district left 76 CRPF troopers dead.
Monday's killings forced Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to cut short his trip to Delhi where he had gone to attend a NITI Aayog meeting and fly back to Raipur. Singh was in the national capital to attend some programmes and was scheduled to leave for Raipur tomorrow.
"The chief minister has curtailed his stay in Delhi and gone back. He will hold a meeting with senior officials from the police and the administration on the Naxal attack there," a state government official said.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 25, 2017 14:14 PM