At least 60 Naxals led by local commanders are suspected to have been involved in the deadly attack on a contingent of the CRPF in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.
Nine CRPF personnel were killed and two others wounded after Maoists blasted their mine-protected vehicle (MPV) using over 50 kg of explosives in the Kistaram area of the Maoist-hit district, around 500 km from the capital Raipur.
“We have received inputs that the Kistaram area committee of Maoists was involved in the attack on CRPF personnel. Some local commanders were leading the Maoist squad,” Special Director General (Anti-Naxal Operations) D M Awasthi told PTI.
Four automatic weapons of CRPF jawans were reported to be missing from the attack site, he said.
Awasthi, along with Senior Security Advisor in Union Ministry of Home Affairs K Vijay Kumar and CRPF Director General Rajveev Rai Bhatnagar on Thursday visited the Palodi camp of security forces in Sukma and took stock of the situation.
According to ground inputs, at least 60 Naxals had gathered to execute the attack. They first triggered a blast targeting the MPV and then started firing, he said.
A road opening party of the state’s Special Task Force (STF) and District Reserve Guard (DRG), which was patrolling on the same route in view of visit of Sukma SP Abhishek Meena, immediately launched retaliatory action after hearing the sound of the explosion, Awasthi said.
In the meantime, personnel of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a unit of the CRPF, also reached there and countered the rebels, the IPS officer said.
The distance between Kistaram and Palodi is around 5 km and the strike took place half way mark where camps of security forces are located. Therefore, reinforcement was rushed to the spot from both directions, he said.
Security personnel travelling in the blast-hit MPV were carrying eight automatic rifles, of which four were recovered after the attack, while the rest are missing, Awasthi said.
The attack took place around 12:30 pm along the 5 km under-construction Kistaram-Palodi road when the troops of the 212th battalion of the CRPF were out for an operation, said officials on Wednesday.