The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police foil rebel attack on station

Patna, March 31: Bihar police today claimed to have foiled a Naxalite attack on a police station at Riga, around 40 km from Janakpur in Nepal and approximately 100 km from the state capital.

The dramatic attack was launched by 400 armed Maoists, claimed additional director-general of police Abhayanand, but was repulsed by the better-armed and better-equipped policemen.

The police station had received threats, over the telephone and by way of pamphlets, said the Sitamarhi superintendent of police, M.R. Nayak.

Police and Special Auxiliary Force, comprising ex-army men, have been deployed at strategic locations.

The police station was targeted because of intensified policing and patrolling in the area known to be a “safe zone” for Maoists, he added and denied initial reports that the Maoists had looted a bank at Riga before retreating.

The daring attack was launched on Saturday evening around 6.30 pm when Maoists tried to blow up a bridge linking Riga to Sitamarhi and Sheohar before advancing to the township.

They launched a simultaneous attack on the bank and the police station besides other government installations like the block office.

There has been an escalation in Maoist violence in the bordering area, superintendent Nayak said, after Maoists gave up arms in Nepal.

There is evidence, he said, to suggest that Maoists from Nepal are pushing in firearms into Bihar and instigating disgruntled and unemployed rural youth to take up arms against the government.

Better communication, Nayak said, had enabled police reinforcements to be rushed from other police stations.

Jawans of Special Auxiliary Force were also moved from Sheohar and Patna, the superintendent of police confirmed.

The Maoists, however, retreated before their arrival, presumably because they had failed to blow up the bridge completely and cut-off the road-link.

Had the bridge between Riga and Sitamarhi, barely 12 km away, been blown up, police reinforcement would have had to take a detour to reach Riga.

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