Friday, June 19, 2009

Blast: Maoists kill nine policemen

Express News Service First Published : 19 Jun 2009 03:43:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Jun 2009 02:54:30 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: With Narayanpatna still smouldering and a day after State’s SOS for more Central forces, Maoists struck again killing nine security personnel this morning dealing a body blow to the police confidence. A unit of Orissa Special Strike Force (OSSF), comprising eight ex-servicemen, died when their vehicle was blown up in a landmine near Palur village, about 9 km before Narayanpatna block. The driver of the van too died in the ambush which occurred around 10 a.m.

The security forces were on their way from Narayanpatna to clear the road blocks which have rendered many parts of block out of reach for last three to four days. The area has been witness to uprising by the tribals who had forcibly taken control of the agricultural fields of non-tribals by evicting them from their villages.

With Revenue officials and security personnel unable to access the pockets, a unit each from Orissa State Disaster Rapid Action Force and OSSF were put on the job to clear the Laxmipur- Narayanpatna road.

``The ODRAF team was approaching the blocked zone from Laxmipur whereas the OSSF contingent was proceeding from Narayanpatna. The blast occurred when the security personnel were crossing a culvert,’’ South-Western DIG Range Sanjib Panda said.

While some said the vehicle was hit by two back-to-back blasts, unconfirmed sources said four explosions rocked the entire area. Such was the impact that the van was damaged beyond recognition.

Bodies of nine slain personnel were retrieved and being brought back to Koraput.

Upon hearing the blast, the ODRAF team returned to Laxmipur. A contingent of CRPF was sent to Palur as a reinforcement measure but it came under sniped attack from the Maoists. However, in the retaliatory fire, the ultras retreated and the CRPF men went on to secure the blast site and retrieve the bodies.

The OSSF, recruited from retired armed forces personnel are a special force which is kept at the disposal of the District Police for easy deployment.

The ex-servicemen’s unit was raised because of familiarity of personnel with such scenarios. However, it was not known why the team did not take precautions while taking the route which is a Naxal-infested area

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