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13 CRPF Personnel killed in Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

Raipur : At least 13 CRPF personnel were killed while an equal number were feared injured in an encounter with Maoists near Chintagufa in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Monday evening. An assistant commandant and a deputy commandant of CRPF were among the dead. The forces were carrying out a joint operation deep inside the forested terrain about 10 km south of Chintagufa, said ADG (anti-Maoist operation) Rajinder Kumar Vij. “Additional reinforcement have been rushed to the spot to rescue the forces. Jawans are still inside. The dead include two officers of CRPF”. According to preliminary reports reaching the force's headquarters in Raipur, a squad of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was undertaking operations in Kasanpara village of the district in the south Bastar region when they entered into an encounter with the Maoists at around 10:30am. 

The engagement, a senior officer said, continued till 2pm with casualties occurring on both sides. The officer said that the Maoists fired at the CRPF patrol party taking the aid of locals and villagers and hence the force had to fire with restraint. Most of the troops suffered bullet injuries and have been air-lifted to Jagdalpur and the state capital Raipur for treatment. Local head of operations Zulfikar Hasan said the attackers had used villagers as human shields. "The Maoist were using local villagers as shields, hence our force couldn't retaliate with full force as that would also have cost villagers' lives," he told AFP. "The operation is still on and I can confirm that 13 of our men have lost their lives.... Besides, another 12 CRPF men are injured," he added. The death toll is likely to rise. There is no report of any casualty inflicted on the rebels. “It clearly shows the frustration of the Maoists. 

The successful operations by the security forces and the massive surrender by their cadres in the recent months led to the exasperation of the left-wing extremists”, the state home minister Ram Sevak Paikra said. This is very saddening, I offer my tributes to the martyred, said former Chhattisgrah chief minister Ajit Jogi. Maoists have presence in 16 out of the 27 districts of Chhattisgarh. Sukma, adjoining Andhra Pradesh border, is among the seven districts of Bastar zone worst affected by the violence unleashed by the red brigade.

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