15 securitymen killed in Maoist ambush

15 securitymen killed in Maoist ambush

 Maoists unleashed an attack in southern Chhattisgarh on Tuesday morning, spraying bullets on a contingent of 48 security personnel, killing 15 of them and a civilian. The violence comes weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The attack took place in Tongpal jungle, which lies in Maoist-infested Sukma district, where the Congress leadership was wiped out during last May’s state polls.

Sources in the home ministry said that at around 10:20 am, about 100 Maoist rebels, in batches of 30 each, waylaid a ‘road opening party’ (RoP) comprising 48 CRPF personnel in Tongpal area and started firing. Though the paramilitary forces tried to repulse the ambush, 11 CRPF officials, 4 state policemen and a civilian died. Three injured people were airlifted to Raipur for medical treatment. Home ministry officials suspect that the Maoists were also killed in the counter attack. But no bodies were recovered from the spot.

There were security forces close by, but they could not come to the aide of those under attack because of being on the other side of a hostile area dominated by the Maoists.

Chhattisgarh's Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Mukesh Gupta said the Maoists are feared to have escaped with automatic rifles and other arms and ammunition which they would have recovered from the security personnel team. The architect of the guerrilla-style attack is believed to be Nambala Keshav Rao, who is also known as Gaganna, Basavraj, Prakash, Krishna and Narasimha.

Rao and Jeerum Ghati local commander Vinod are suspected to have been at the spot during the violence. They are both also suspected for last May’s attack on Congress leaders, in which Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma and 24 others were killed. They are wanted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in that case.
Though security forces were advised to change their operating procedure, they continued executing road sanitisation exercises in similar ways, making them easy targets for the Maoists, said government sources. A similar attack took place a fortnight ago.

Later, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh held a meeting with security officials.
“The attack was designed at stalling the road that is being built there. Maoists fear development,” Singh said. The Home Ministry also held a meeting and decided to send additional forces to Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists had killed 76 security personnel in April 2010 in the Sukma region which is considered as one of the areas out of bounds of the forces.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will lead a delegation of officials to Raipur on Wednesday to review the situation. During the meeting in the North Block, it was decided to carry out operations against the Maoists in other states, apart from putting affected districts on high alert.

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