Thursday, August 30, 2007

No check on Naxals' stronghold in Chhattisgarh

30 Aug 2007, 0118 hrs IST,Amitabh Tiwari,TNN

RAIPUR: Wednesday's Maoist ambush on policemen in the forests of Dantewada in which at least 12 security personnel were killed shows how Naxalites, despite the heavy security dragnet in the area, are able to quickly cobble together attack squads of more than 100 combatants.

The security team was on its way to secure an area at Tarmekla village in Jagargunda, where the Naxals had blocked construction of a road. "The team comprising Chhattisgarh Armed Force, SPOs and cops was divided into two groups. The Maoists hiding in the area ambushed the rear party and opened fire on them," DGP Vishwaranjan said. There was heavy exchange of fire during which the police party got fragmented and scattered in the forests. When the cops regrouped, 15 of their men were missing and were presumed dead. Later in the day, three policemen returned to the camp.

"Though 25 securitymen returned to the Jagargunda police station by evening, 12 of them, including Jagargunda SHO Hemant Kumar, were killed in the attack," the DGP said. Three policemen were wounded in the gunbattle. The guerrillas also looted sophisticated weapons like AK-47s, SLRs and .303 rifles, police sources said.
In another incident, Naxalites set a Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board's truck on fire in Nukanpal village under the Avapalli police station in Bijapur district.

Naxalites have targeted security personnel venturing into the forests, essentially to prevent them from setting up strongholds inside their areas. But the Red guerrillas also regularly hit development works to prevent interior villages from getting connectivity to the outside world.

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