Raipur: Five jawans were killed and 12 others injured when Maoists ambushed a search party of security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar district of Sukma on Saturday, police officers said.
The body of a woman Maoist was also recovered from the encounter spot, they said.
The encounter took place near Jonagunda village situated along the Sukma-Bijapur border when a joint team of security forces were out on a counterinsurgency operation, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police (Naxal Operation) O.P. Pal said.
“Five jawans were killed and 12 others injured in the incident. Body of a woman Maoist was also recovered at the encounter site,” Mr Pal said.
According to Mr Pal, a joint search party comprising personnel of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Bastaria Battalion of CRPF comprising exclusively of youths of Bastar, district reserve group (DRG) and special task force (STF) of Chhattisgarh police were out on anti-Naxal operation since Friday night following specific intelligence input on the gathering of Maoist cadres in large numbers in the area.
Drones spotted the Maoists’ movement, sources said.
A senior police officer posted in Bastar told this newspaper that two joint search parties were mobilised from Sukma and Bijapur districts to launch anti-Naxal operation in the Terram forest area following intelligence inputs on the presence of Maoists’ battalion number one commander Hidma along with his militiamen in Terram area.
“Maoists laid ambush for one of the two search parties at an open ground on the outskirt of Jonagunda village under Jagargunda police limits at around 12 in the noon. A fierce gun battle ensued between them, leading to the killing of a jawan of CoBRA and two security personnel each of DRG and Bastaria Battalion and injuries to 2 others.
“Body of a woman Naxal along with an Insas assault rifle was recovered at the encounter site,” the police officer said, unwilling to be quoted since he was not authorised to speak to media.
Two Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters were pressed into service to evacuate the injured jawans. All the injured jawans were airlifted to Raipur for medical treatment.
This was the second major attack on security personnel by Naxals in Bastar in the last 10 days.
On March 23, Maoists blew up a bus carrying DRG jawans in the Kodenar area under Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar district of Narayanpur by detonating an improvised explosive device explosion killing 5 jawans and injuring 14 others.