18 Trucks Set on Fire by Naxals in Chhattisgarh, Second Attack in 24 Hours

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Raipur:  18 trucks carrying iron ore from a mine in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district were set on fire allegedly by Naxals this morning. No casualties have been reported.

A group of armed Naxals raided the Barbaspur iron ore mining site and after threatening the labourers, they torched vehicles engaged in mining work, Kanker Superintendent of Police Jitendera Singh Meena told Press Trust of India. After torching the vehicles, the Naxals fled into the forest, he said.

The attack comes within 24 hours of an ambush by over 200 Naxals in the Sukma district in which seven policemen of the Special Task Force (STF) were killed. 11 jawans were also injured in the nearly two-hour-long gun-battle on Saturday.

Sukma is about 265 kilometres away from Kanker.

According to reports, a 60-strong squad of the STF had gone to Pidmel-Polampalli area in Sukma district, bordering Andhra Pradesh, on a search operation following a tip-off over the presence of Naxals. While on their way back around noon, they were reportedly attacked by over 200 heavily-armed ultras in the Dornapal-Chintagufa area.

“Seven brave STF jawans were martyred in the gun-battle which went on for roughly two hours in an area which is inaccessible by road and also lacks any communication facilities,” said RK Vij, Additional Director General of Police who heads the state’s anti-Naxal operations.

The bodies of these STF personnel were retrieved today, over 24 hours after the gun-battle.

Sources had earlier told NDTV that a back-up team from the Central Reserve Police Force, which arrived a couple of hours after the gun-battle ended, was unable to bring the bodies back as Naxals started firing again. The site of the attack, a forested area, is just eight kilometres away from the nearest CRPF camp. Sources say the team had to return to the camp to work out a strategy to retrieve the bodies.

But one of the jawans, who was injured, told media that no reinforcements arrived at the spot, adding they had to walk to the nearest CRPF camp.

“I was shot in the waist… somehow, we were able to save ourselves,” said Sanjay Lakra, an STF constable, adding, “No back up came.”

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