Maoists kill 7 poll officials, 5 CRPF troopers in Chhattisgarh

Raipur: Seven members of a polling party and five CRPF personnel were among 13 killed as Naxals struck twice Saturday in gap of less than an hour, blowing up a bus and an ambulance in Bijapur and Bastar districts of Maoist-hit south Chhattisgarh.

Eleven persons, including five paramilitary personnel, were also injured in the two incidents.

The Naxals attacked the election personnel near Ketulnar village of Bijapur at about 11 am when they were returning from poll duty in the region, Additional Director General of Police (Naxal Operation) RK Vij told PTI.

Polling was held in the Naxal-affected Bastar constituency on April 10.

When the poll party reached near a pond in Ketulnar village between Gudma and Kutru, Naxals triggered a landmine blast and opened indiscriminate firing, he said.

“Six polling personnel were killed on the spot while another succumbed to injuries at a local hospital,” the ADG added.

The five others injured have been admitted to a local hospital in Bijapur, he said, adding, “The bodies were yet to be retrieved from the forest.”

A police official told PTI that around 75-100 armed rebels were involved in the ambush on the polling party.

The rebels fled to the core forest after security personnel launched a retaliatory attack.

Reinforcements were rushed to the spot, the ADG said.

Less than an hour later and about 100 kms away, Naxals blew up an ambulance carrying CRPF personnel under Darbha police station.

The incident took place in Kamanar village when around ten CRPF personnel were travelling in 108 Sanjeevani ambulance, he said.

Five CRPF personnel and the ambulance driver were killed in the incident, the ADG said.

Besides, five paramilitary personnel and a paramedic staff of the ambulance were also injured in the incident, he said.

According to a senior police official, the personnel belonged to 80th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force and were heading towards Jagdalpur district headquarter after a security operation in the region.

Meanwhile, some of them took lift in the ambulance ahead of Kamnar.

Naxals were apparently keeping an eye on the movement of security forces following which they targeted the vehicle, he said.

The slain CRPF personnel have been identified as Inspector M K Rai, Assistant Sub-Inspector Kanti Bhai, Head Constable’s Sitaram and M Umesh, Constable Dinesh and the civilian driver Vasu Sethiya.

After triggering a landmine blast, the Naxals opened indiscriminate firing on the bus.—PTI