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Blast kills Congress workers

Nagpur, July 20: A landmine blast suspected to have been triggered by Maoists in Chhattisgarh today missed state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, but unconfirmed reports said at least four party workers in his convoy died when their car was blown apart.

Patel was returning from a meeting near the Orissa border when his convoy came under attack in Durbhagudi, a village in the southeastern tip of Raipur district.

No senior police official was available for comment, but agencies quoted additional IG (Maoist operations) Ram Niwas as saying the blast and the firing that followed took place around 5.30pm.

Patel said the landmine exploded just after his vehicle, which was leading the convoy, had crossed a bridge. “My vehicle had crossed the bridge when this explosion occurred,” he told The Telegraph.

At least four workers are dead, he said. “Quite a few workers are seriously injured, I don’t know how many,” he added. “The toll may go up.” Niwas said the police personnel accompanying the convoy retaliated after the blast.

The ambush spot is near Gariyaband, where Maoists had in May killed nine policemen, a sign that they had opened a new front along the Orissa border perilously close to capital city Raipur.

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