The deadly Maoist ambush in which 25 CPRF personnel were killed in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district was planned and executed by a local Naxal commander. The Naxal commander was reportedly camping in the area for the last few days, said the official. The incident took place in the same base region of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist where 75 CRPF personnel and one state policeman were massacred in April, 2010 in Tadmetla.
“We got regular inputs on April 22 that dreaded Maoist commander Situ was camping at Tadmetla village, around 7-8 kms from Burkapal where the ambush took place yesterday,” a senior police official involved in anti-Naxal operations told PTI. “We suspect that the attack was planned by Situ and his group by taking the support of local lower-rung cadres of Maoists like Sangham and militia members,” he said.
Yesterday morning, a road-opening party (ROP) of the CRPF’s 74th battalion, comprising around 100 personnel, had launched an operation from Burkapal camp to ensure security to the road construction work underway between Chintagufa- Jagargunda, he said.
When the paramilitary troops were around 1.5 kms away from their camp towards Chintagufa at around 12.40 PM, Maoists surrounded them apparently from three sides taking cover of rocks and trees and unleashed attack by resorting to random firing, he said.
Besides indiscriminate firing, the Naxals also lobbed grenade through under barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) and locally made explosive-headed-arrows on security personnel, he said. “It was the deadliest attack on security forces in the recent years in the state,” the official said.
Besides, after the encounter, Naxals looted 22 weapons, including five under-barrel grenade launcher, armoured AK-47, 7 AK-47 rifles, 4 AKM rifles, 2 Insas-LMG, 3 Insas, 22 bullet-proof jackets, five wireless sets with spare batteries, two binoculars and several magazines of AK-47, Insas and Insas-LMG of CRPF men and fled to the dense forests, he said.
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The first military battalion of Maoists, headed by Naxal commander Hidma, which is active in Sukma has been involved in several deadly attacks on security forces in the past. The battalion has two military companies of Maoist, of which, one headed by Nagesh and another by Situ, he said.
Notably, the Chintagufa-Jagargunda patch is part of the strategically important road being built from Dornapal to inaccessible Jagargunda (58 kms long), around 450 kms from the state capital of Raipur. The official said security forces were put on alert fearing Maoist offensive activities in view of annual “tactical counter offensive campaign” (TCOC) being observed by rebels from March to June.
The summer season proves to be favourable period for carrying out Maoist attacks when long grasses and bushes dry up, providing clear view of the force movement in the vast jungle terrain, he said, adding, during this period they step up their activities.
On March 11 this year, as many as 12 CRPF personnel, belonging to the 219th battalion, were killed and three others injured in Sukma’s Bhejji area.
In the wake of that attack, security forces deployed in different parts of Bastar were asked to be extra cautious while carrying out operations as well to beef up security around police stations and their camps in remote areas, he added.