All of them are safe and are returning to their base camp. We had sent reinforcements to the encounter spot, said IGP (Bastar range) TJ Longkumer. Our men retaliated and came out of the ambush. At least four-five Naxalites might have been killed in the encounter. We will be able to get more details only after our men return to the base.
A team of 100 security personnel, comprising men from the Dantewada district police, STF and Koya Commandos (local tribal youth who were Special Police Officers and later absorbed into the regular force) had left Kirandul police station in the morning for a routine search operation. Initial reports said they were ambushed by the Naxalites in the forests of Gumiyapal, about 8 km from Kirandul, leading to a fierce encounter.
There was speculation that 75 personnel were missing after the ambush since police claimed that there had been no contact with them. Heavy rains in the area was making it difficult for reinforcements to reach the area. With the weather dipping, helicopters too couldnt take off.
But by evening, additional director general of police (Anti-Naxal operations) Ram Niwas confirmed that all security personnel were safe and were returning to their base camp. It is taking time as adequate precautions are being taken... to avoid the possibility of any attack, he said.
In the last four months, Naxalites have stepped up attacks against security personnel, particularly targeting the CRPF. Nearly 150 security personnel, most from CRPF, have been killed in different attacks in Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur districts of Bastar region.