At least five of Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhounds commando team, which killed nine Maoists, were on Wednesday reportedly abandoned by a BSF helicopter in the rebel-infested Batiguda village in Khammam district.
After the IAF sent two Mi-17 helicopters to Batiguda on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border and successfully airlifted 30 of the Greyhounds personnel, the BSF’s lone Mi-17 chopper was tasked to pick up the remaining 10 personnel.
“But soon after the BSF helicopter landed and the commandos began to board it, heavily armed Maoists zeroed in on the location and opened fire,” officials from the security agencies said here.
Soon, the Mi-17 was hit by the Maoists’ bullets, two of which reportedly hit the cargo hold area too, prompting the pilots to take off midway through the evacuation process.
“The BSF helicopter left behind at least five men and flew out. This happened in the afternoon hours of Wednesday. We have no further information on the fate of the five men,” the officials added.
The five men were part of the 40-member commando team that killed nine Maoists, including five women, in an encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Tuesday.
On January 18, an IAF Mi-17 helicopter had come under a heavy Maoists ambush in a forest area in Chhattisgarh, where they had flown to evacuate CRPF personnel. The IAF crew, along with two Garud Commando Force personnel, left behind the injured policemen and the chopper in the forest and walked to a police station a few kilometres away.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had sought a report from the Ministry of Defence on the incident. Incidentally, the BSF is directly under the MHA’s administrative control.