Saturday, June 13, 2009

2 cops injured in Khunti rebel blast

Ranchi, June 13: CPI(Maoist) rebels today triggered a powerful landmine blast in Rania aiming to kill over a dozen policemen returning from long range patrolling in Torpia to their police headquarters in Khunti.

Police said only two jawans were injured in the blast that hit the front portion of their vehicle, but unconfirmed reports reaching here put the number at five. The injured are now out of danger.

This was the third consecutive landmine blast by Naxalites in four days. Three days ago, a landmine blast in Goelkera in West Singhbhum killed all 10 policemen travelling in a jeep. Yesterday, a powerful landmine blast in Nawadih of Bokaro district killed nine STF jawans. Two other policemen died battling rebels who were trying to loot a bank at Phusro in Bokaro town.

Today, the landmine was planted under a small bridge near Rania. Sensing that the blast had missed the intended targets, the rebels — six in number — opened fire on the police van.

The policemen retaliated and engaged the Naxalites in a gun battle for over half-an-hour. Later, the Naxalites ran away into the nearby forest.

Khunti superintendent of police Prabhat Kumar confirmed the Naxalite attack. “Except the two jawans who had been injured in the blast, others are unhurt. The injured, too, are out of danger,” he said. Kumar said that additional police forces had been rushed to Rania and a combing operation had been started. However, no Maoist involved in planting the landmines had been arrested as yet.

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