22 security personnel killed in Chhattisgarh Maoist attack
At least 22 security personnel have lost their lives in the Maoist attack at Sukma-Bijapur in Chhattisgarh.
The attack took place in a jungle near the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh.
According to reports, on Saturday, separate joint teams of security forces, with over 2,000 personnel, launched a major operation from Bijapur and Sukma districts in the South Bastar forests, considered a Maoist stronghold.
At around 12 noon, the Maoists laid an ambush, leading to an encounter that lasted for three hours, reported NDTV.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel today and took stock of the situation. He also directed the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldeep Singh to visit Chhattisgarh to assess the situation.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force deployed Mi-17 helicopters to help the paramilitary forces in rescue operations in Sukma where 5 jawans were killed in an encounter with Naxals.
“My thoughts are with the families of those martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten. May the injured recover at the earliest,” PM Modi tweeted.
Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief over killed soldiers.
Taking to his Twitter, he said: “I bow to sacrifices of our brave security personnel martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Nation will never forget their valour. My condolences are with their families. We will continue our fight against these enemies of peace and progress.”
According to Sundarraj Pattilingam, Inspector General of Police in Bastar Range of Chhattisgarh, nine more Naxals have been killed and around 15 others have been injured in the encounter. As per the reports, around 250 Naxalites were present during the time of encounter.
For the last 10 days, security forces in Chhattisgarh were getting information about the whereabouts of Madvi Hidma, a top Naxal of banned CPI (Maoist) who has been linked to major attacks including the 2013 Jhiram Ghati killings, reported ANI.
As per the security forces, Hidma has multi-layered protection and only the fittest Naxals join his battalion.
“He has a multi-layered cover which starts from almost one kilometre. Another layer of Naxals is deployed at around 500 meters and another bunch of Naxals protects him at 200 meters. They also carry network jammers to disturb the communication of security forces in case of an encounter,” ANI quoted a senior official as saying.
Hidma is head of the 1st Battalion and his outfit has been involved in almost all major attacks from Jhiram Ghati killings in 2013 to an encounter in March last year in which 17 security personnel were killed.