Sukma (Chhattisgarh), Dec 1: Maoists Monday gunned down 13 CRPF troopers engaged in an operation aimed at flushing out the rebels from a thickly forested area of Chhattisgarh, police sources said. The deadly attack, the worst in months, also killed two officers – a deputy commandant and an assistant commandant of the Central Reserve Police Force.
The incident took place near Chintagufa area in Sukma district, Additional Director General of Police R.K. Vij told IANS. “We have suffered a major casualty.” The Maoists fire indiscriminately from all sides at a joint contingent of the CRPF and Chhattisgarh Police. “Suddenly there was heavy firing from almost everywhere,” Vij told IANS.
He said the security forces were engaged in a major combing operation when the Maoists sprayed bullets. The attack site is about 500 km south of capital Raipur. The area is cut off from all communication networks. Officials at the state police headquarters said Chintagufa was a den of Maoists where they have had several major hideouts since the 1990s.
One officer said the security forces were often scared to carry out anti-Maoist operations in the area. “The casualty is basically due to lack of solid intelligence,” said a CRPF officer posted at Sukma’s Dornapal base camp. “We failed to know that Maoists had assembled in hundreds in the area with sophisticated weapons to take on the CRPF.
“But we have to admit that getting specific intelligence in the insurgent-commanded jungle war zone has always been a difficult task,” the officer told IANS. The attack site is part of Bastar region that is spread out over 40,000 square km. In almost the entire forested interiors, the rebels run a parallel government. In the past six months the insurgents had come under heavy pressure from both the paramilitary troopers and the state police.