As many as seven members of the forest department’s strike force team were injured in an attack by red sanders smugglers at Neelipaka village in Bhadrachalam mandal late on Saturday night.
The forest team members, travelling in a jeep, tried to intercept the smugglers’ vehicle (Tata Sumo) carrying the wood when the smugglers rammed the jeep with their SUV.
According to sources, the strike force team, which had information about red sanders smuggling from Koyaveerapuram village in Bhdrachalam mandal, was waiting for the smugglers at Gowridevipet village. When the team members saw the SUV and a Maruti 800 car emerging out of forest, they tried to intercept the vehicles.
But the smugglers, on seeing them, took another route and tried to escape towards Bhadrachalam.
The strike force went after them and tried to intercept them once again on a bridge at Neelipaka by parking their jeep in the middle of the road.
The smugglers did not stop, but hit the jeep and sped away. The jeep overturned under the impact, injuring those sitting inside.
The injured are G Suresh, K Mohan, P Naresh, S Venkatesh, S Nagaraju, K Srinivas Rao and P Vijay Kumar and they are undergoing treatment at Bhadrachalam area hospital, according to forest range officer P Srinviasa Rao.