In a repeat of the infamous Dantewada ambush, Maoists on Tuesday struck a CRPF contingent killing 26 jawans and injuring seven in Naraynpur district of troubled Chhatisgarh state.
This was the fourth big strike in the last three months.
The attack took place at around 3 pm, when the CRPF personnel were returning after search operations five km from Dhaudai police station, located 40 km from Narayanpur district headquarters, Vijay Raman, Special Director General, CRPF, said.
The CRPF personnel were returning in two vehicles when the Maoists hiding in nearby jungle ambushed them.
The injured jawans are being brought to Maharani Hospital, in Jagdalpur.
Sources said at least 90 Maoists ambushed the 70-strong CRPF road-opening party in an area under Dhaurai police station. The Maoists had given the call for a two-day bandh in the area from Wednesday.
Three CRFP companies -- about 300 troopers -- were opening up roads in the area when the attack occurred. The combined road opening party comprised CRPF troopers and Chhattisgarh state police personnel.A helicopter was sent to evacuate the injured troopers.
PTI adds: The Maoists opened fire from a hilltop when the paramilitary men were returning from road opening duty on foot, CRPF Chief Vikram Srivastava said in New Delhi.
Acccording to preliminary information, four special police officers (SPOs) of Chhattisgarh Police along with some CRPF personnel were also injured in the attack. The condition of one of the SPOs is stated to be serious, officials said. The troops were from the 39th battalion of the force and were a part of its 'E' and 'F' companies.
The troops were ambushed near Daurai Road area in the remote district, about 300 kms from Raipur.
This is the third major Naxal attack on the CRPF since the Maoist strike on a force contingent on April six in Dantewada killing 75 of its personnel and a Chattisgarh policeman. On May 8, eight men of the paramilitary force were killed when naxals blew up a mine-proof vehicle also in Narayanpur district. PTI