Friday, June 12, 2009

Naxals strike again: 10 cops killed in Jharkhand

11 Jun 2009, 0132 hrs IST, TNN

RANCHI/JAMSHEDPUR: Naxalites appear to be able to strike at security forces at will. On Wednesday, Naxalites ambushed a patrol party and blew up a
landmine in West Singhbhum district, about 250km from Ranchi, killing 10 security personnel. In the last two months alone, 92 security personnel have been killed in Naxal attacks in the four worst-hit states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

There has been talk of a strategy to combat the guerrillas. But that's all there has been, it would appear from the increasing frequency of the attacks. This year, no less than 871 Naxal strikes in the four states have killed 170 people, 150 of them security personnel. The toll on the Naxals' side is 80.

Wednesday's attack took place near the Goelkara forests as a joint police and CRPF patrol was returning to base. ``The blast took place when personnel from police and CRPF were returning from a long-range patrolling that continued for three days and two nights,'' an official said.

The stretch along the area known as Serengda-Auranga is full of dense foliage and considered a safe hideout for Maoist guerrillas.

Police sources said the blast took place around 8.30am after the security personnel boarded their vehicles which had been trailing them. ``They got on the vehicles after covering a distance of about one-and-a-half kilometres from Auranga, considering that they were now in a safe zone,'' IG (operations) D K Pandey said.

``The security personnel should not have boarded the vehicles. They violated security instructions that led to the mishap,'' superintendent of police (West Singhbhum) Sudhir Kumar Jha said.

The Naxalites opened fire when the police cavalcade was taking a U-turn after negotiating a hillock. One of the vehicles was ripped apart when a landmine exploded, killing nine security personnel and a police driver. Eight of the policemen died on the spot.

Pandey said the encounter between the security personnel and the Maoist terrorists lasted over two hours. The rebels retreated into the jungles after police reinforcements arrived at the spot.

Among the dead were two police sub-inspectors, one CRPF inspector and six jawans. Both the Naxalites and the security personnel fired over 500 rounds during the encounter.

Three suspected Maoist guerrillas were arrested and a massive search operation was on in the area, DGP V D Ram said.

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