Raipur, July 10: Twenty-three security personnel were killed when they walked into a well-hatched trap laid by Maoists in densely forested terrain of Dantewada district late last evening.
A villager also died in the incident while about 12 others sustained serious injuries.
Police officers, quoting the injured, claimed that about 20 rebels were also killed. However, no body was recovered.
Acting on a tip-off that rebels were camping in forests near Mariyaguda village, about 520km south of Raipur, a team of 115 security personnel, including jawans of the CRPF, police and special security officer — the villagers recruited by the state government to combat the rebels — left for the spot yesterday afternoon.
The security personnel stormed the camp after heavy gun battle forced the rebels to escape into the forest. A few Maoist aides were detained from the spot. They told the force that another camp was located about 3km away and probably the rebels had taken shelter there. As the jawans moved deep inside, the rebels opened fire from all corners. Sources said about 300 to 400 rebels were spraying bullets from sophisticated weapons. Around 8.30pm, the jawans had to retreat as their ammunition exhausted and found that 23 of them were missing. The bodies were recovered from a spot, about 20km from Errabore block headquarters, adjoining the Andhra Pradesh border during a search this morning, said inspector-general of police (Bastar) R.K. Vij.
Police station raided
Suspected Maoists, armed with modern firearms and hand grenades, attacked Goelkera police station in West Singhbhum district late last night.
According to sources, the police station was attacked by P-22 squad of the Maoists effective in Saranda forest. It was sometime around 1.30 in the night when firing was first heard on the southeast side of the market.
Deputy inspector-general of police (Singhbhum-Kolhan) Ram Lakhan Prasad confirmed the attack. “About 20 armed rebels attacked the police station last night but the timely assistance of the special task force forced them to retreat. The Maoists were not able to reach even close to the police station’s boundary,” said Prasad.