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Maoists kill 10 policemen in Bastar

Tuesday 29 May 2007, by SRINIVAS REDDY*K.

35 civilians escape unhurt in landmine explosion triggered in Orissa

The policemen riding motorcycles were ambushed at Kudur village Many automatic weapons were looted in the raid

HYDERABAD: Maoist violence claimed the lives of 10 policemen in the Bastar forest of Chhattisgarh, while more than two dozen civilians had a miraculous escape in a landmine explosion triggered by the extremists in Malkangiri district of Orissa abutting the strife-torn Bastar area on Monday.

Monday’s attack in Bastar comes shortly after the blowing up of the railway track at two places at Bhansi and Bacheli villages effectively cutting off transport of iron ore from the Bailadilla mines in Chhattisgarh.

Policemen riding motorcycles became sitting ducks for the Maoists, who lay in wait near Kudur village and blasted 20 mines while opening fire simultaneously. Nine security force personnel, including a sub-inspector and two havaldars, were killed in the operation that lasted an hour.

The other members of the police patrol team escaped and reached the nearby police station, about 20 km away, and alerted the higher-ups.

"The police team had rushed to a location on receiving information about the movement of the Maoists. Possibly, the Maoists passed on false information to lure the policemen to the heavily mined area," Giridhari Nayak, IG of SIB, Chattisgarh told The Hindu over telephone.

Police contingents from nearby districts were being rushed to the area. Though it was not clear how many weapons were looted, sources in Raipur said many automatic weapons were lost in the raid.

Another exchange

In another exchange of fire between security forces and the Maoists in the Gangalur police station area falling in neighbouring Bijapur district, a CRPF jawan was killed.

Elsewhere, security forces exchanged fire with the Maoists in the Bedre camp area in the same district, where a jawan was injured.

Mr. Nayak said the security forces raided a naxal hideout and a serious gunbattle ensued. He said at least half-a-dozen naxalites could have been injured in the firing that lasted for more than an hour.

In the neighbouring Malkangiri district, the Maoists triggered a landmine and a claymore mine targeting a bus carrying about 35 people. However, all civilians escaped unhurt.

The Chhattisgarh incidents are believed to be part of a tactical counter offensive campaign launched by the Maoists ahead of the anniversary of Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist people resistance movement launched by Mahendra Karma, leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA from Dantewada.

As part of the June 4 anniversary, Mr. Karma is planning a huge rally against the Maoists in Bijapur.

See online : The Hindu

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