RAIPUR: On the opening day of a new security base camp at Tekalgudem in the strife-torn Sukma district, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) attacked the security forces patrolling close to it, killing at least three jawans and injuring 15 others on Tuesday.
The casualties of forces resulted in a fierce exchange of fire with the left-wing extremists near Tekalgudem village of Sukma district, about 500 km south of Raipur, the police said.
All the three deceased were personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with two among them from CoBRA, an elite jungle warfare unit of CRPF.
The Bastar Inspector General of police Sunderraj P has confirmed the Maoist attack at Tekalgudem. The personnel killed were identified as Constable Dewan C (201 CoBRA battalion), constable Pawan Kumar (201 CoBRA battalion) and Constable Lambhadhar Sinha (150th CRPF battalion)
The injured were shifted to Jagdalpur Medical Hospital for immediate medical attention. The critically injured have been air-lifted to Raipur and admitted in private nursing homes, stated the official release.
It was in the forested terrain of Tekalgudem, which is close to the border area of Sukma and Bijapur, where 23 security personnel were killed in an encounter with the Maoists in 2021.
According to the Bastar police, the rebels opened fire on the joint patrolling party comprising CoBRA, special task force (STF) and district reserve guards (DRG) deployed to cordon off the Tekalgudem area on the day of initiation of the new security camp.
The attack was swiftly retaliated by the forces following which the Maoists escaped into the nearby dense forest. The intensive gunfight continued for over an hour in the region.
The new camp has been set up with the intent to provide the local population access to basic amenities in the conflict-ridden area. “We will continue with our efforts to work towards establishing peace, safety and development in the region and have decided to open a new camp despite having suffered a huge loss in 2021 here”, said the Bastar IG.
The region where the rebels attacked the forces happens to be the stronghold of Maoists and centre of activity of their trained military unit People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion.
Ten days ago the Red guerrillas carried out an attack targeting the CRPF camp with hundreds of grenade launcher shells in Bijapur district. No casualty or injury were reported then.
Union home minister Amit Shah during his visit to Raipur on January 22 in the review meeting on left wing extremism in Chhattisgarh has set a three-year deadline to free the state from the Maoist menace.
The seven districts including Sukma and Bijapur in Bastar zone continue to have the presence of Maoists.