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Chhattisgarh major encounter: No intelligence failure, 25-30 Naxals killed says CRPF DG Kuldeep Singh

CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh said on Sunday that there was absolutely no intelligence or operational failure during the Chhattisgarh encounter with Naxals that claimed the lives of 22 jawans and left 31 injured on Saturday.

Aday after 22 jawans were killed and 31 sustained injuries in an encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh, director-general of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldiep Singh said that there was absolutely no intelligence or operational failure in the operation.

“There’s no point in saying that there was some kind of intelligence or operational failure. Had it been some intelligence failure, forces would haven’t gone for operation. If there was some operational failure, so many Naxals would haven’t been killed,” news agency ANI quoted DG CRPF Kuldiep Singh as saying.

While speaking about the casualties of Naxals in the encounter, he informed that around 25-30 Naxals were killed, but the exact number is yet to be ascertained.

“Three tractors were used to carry injured and dead bodies of Naxals from the site. It is tough to say right now an exact number of Naxals killed in the operation, but it shouldn’t be less than 25-30,” Kuldiep Singh said.

All about Bijapur Naxal attack

The attack was led by some 400 Maoists who surrounded the jawans from three sides in an area devoid of vegetation and rained on them machine gunfire as well as IEDs for several hours, officials said on Sunday.

The security victims were from a contingent of about 1,500 troops, drawn from the CRPF’s specialised jungle warfare unit CoBRA, its regular battalions, a unit of its Bastariya battalion, the Chhattisgarh Police affiliated District Reserve Guard (DRG) and others. They had launched a search and destroy operation along the border of Bijapur-Sukma district after they got inputs of Maoists presence in the area.

After receiving intelligence that the Naxals were conducting a counter-offensive exercise in the area, a contingent of about 790 personnel set out towards the Jagargunda-Jongaguda-Tarrem axis at dawn, said officials.

“At least 400 Naxals suspected to be led by the most wanted Maoist commander and leader of the so-called ‘People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) battalion no 1– Hidma– and his associate Sujatha ambushed the forces in an area that is a strong-hold of the Maoists due to the difficult terrain, large tracts of forests and a smaller number of security forces camps,” an officer said.

Out of the total 22 fatalities, the CRPF lost eight men including seven CoBRA commandos while one jawan is from the Bastariya battalion and the rest are from DRG and Special Task Force. A CRPF Inspector is still missing, they said.

“The Maoists drew the forces into an ambush with heavy gunfire and encircled the security personnel from three sides. A heavy gun-battle ensued in the jungles which are devoid of any foliage at present,” a senior official told PTI.

Naxals used low-intensity IEDs to mount attack

Bullets rained from light machine guns (LMGs) and the Naxals also used low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to mount the attack that continued for several hours.

Helicopters, which were requisitioned to evacuate the injured personnel, could make the first landing only after 5 pm after the gunfire had ended.

The security personnel took cover behind large trees and kept firing till they ran out of ammunition, he added.

At one location, he added, seven bodies of the troops were recovered and the tree trunks bore bullet marks, indicating that a fierce gun battle took place in the area.

About two dozen sophisticated assault weapons of the slain personnel are also stated to have been looted by the Naxals even as security officials said the search of the area is still on and details are being collected from the ground.

Operation monitored by 2 IG rank officers, CRPF from Jagdalpur in Bastar

Another officer posted in Chhattisgarh said the operation was being monitored by two Inspector General (IG) rank officers of the state police and the CRPF from Jagdalpur in Bastar.

Officials said while maximum security personnel were killed due to bullet shots, one is suspected to have fainted and later died due to dehydration and other issues.

“The security forces personnel, especially CoBRA commandos, fought very bravely and ensured that the Naxals could not prolong the ambush despite being at an advantage,” the officer said.

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