Raipur, March 11 IANS | 8 months ago

At least 20 security personnel were killed Tuesday when Maoists ambushed them in a thickly forested part of Chhattisgarh, police said.

An estimated 300 guerrillas ambushed and fired indiscriminately at 50-55 men from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police on a remote stretch of a forested road in Gheeram Ghati, a senior officer said.

"It was a deadly ambush," Additional Director General of Police Mukesh Gupta told IANS.

He said the ambush site in Sukma district, about 500 km south of Raipur, appeared to be the same place where Maoists massacred 27 people, including senior Congress leaders, in May last year.

Gupta said even as the Maoist attack triggered a gun battle, the guerrillas also exploded bombs, causing more damage to the security patrol that was passing through the area.

Police admitted that exact details of the casualties were not known, and that the number of dead may go up.

It was also not clear if any of the attackers, who were from the Communist Party of India-Maoist, were also killed.

The authorities rushed reinforcements to the area but it was not clear when they will reach the ambush site. Helicopters were also pressed into service.

Normally, Maoist guerrillas carry out well-planned hit-and-run attacks on security forces, using the topography to their advantage, and routinely escape with the weapons of the dead.

The vast interior parts of Chattisgarh, which are heavily forested and populated by poor tribals, have been strongholds of the Maoists since the 1980s.

The CPI-Maoist is known to run a virtual parallel administration in these areas.

(Posted on 11-03-2014)

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