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Maoist ambush kills 17 jawans in Sukma of Chhattisgarh

Taking advantage of the situation, the rebels---who had taken position comfortably---targeted jawans and inflicted a major casualty.

R Krishna Das  |  Raipur 

army jawan, border, J&K, Poonch
This is the first major incident after the Congress government led by Bhupesh Baghel came to power in December 2018. | Representative Image

While the entire nation was struggling to combat the deadly Covid-19, Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) stuck in and killed 17 security personnel in a fatal ambush laid in restive Sukma district.

Acting on a tip-off that senior Maoist cadre was present in the forests of Elmaguda, a joint team of District Reserve Guard (DRG), Special Task Force (STF) and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA)- an elite unit of CRPF launched an operation on Saturday. Around 600 personnel struck from three corners namely Chintagufa, Burkapal and Timelwada.

The Maoists had meticulously planned the operation and forced the jawans to walk into the trap. Reports reaching from Sukma said that the team could not trace the rebels and were returning when a group heavily armed Maoists ambushed near Minpa village forests at around 3 pm on Saturday. Police suspect about 250 ultras were involved in the attack.

As the rebels opened indiscriminate fire, the team shattered to take position. Taking advantage of the situation, the rebels---who had taken position comfortably---targeted jawans and inflicted a major casualty. While others returned with 15 injured, 17 jawans went missing and a massive search operation was launched.

“Bodies of the 17 security personnel were recovered by a search team on Sunday”, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said. Of them, 12 jawans belonged to DRG while 5 were from STF. The casualty on DRG jawans was a major blow for the security forces.

The DRG jawans are basically surrendered Maoists who were observed in the security system under rehabilitation policy. They are a big challenge for the rebels. Besides knowing the strategy, the jawans are local youths and aware of jungle warfare.

This is the first major incident after the Congress government led by Bhupesh Baghel came to power in December 2018. The Chief Minister visited the hospital where 15 injured jawans have been admitted. Later, he chaired a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation.

According to police officials, the rebels looted 16 automatic weapons that included AK47 and an Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL).

First Published: Sun, March 22 2020. 20:48 IST
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