9 Naxals, 2 police personnel killed in Chhattisgarh's Sukma
Nine Naxals and two police personnel were killed in two encounters between the ultras and the security men in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Monday, a senior official said.
The encounters took place in the forests of Kistaram, bordering Telangana, and Chintagufa, both in south Sukma, during an anti-Maoist push, titled "Operation Prahar IV", involving over 1,200 troopers, D M Awasthi, Chhattisgarh Special Director General of Police (Anti Naxal Operations), said Monday evening.
He said several teams of the Special Task Force (STF), District Reserve Guard (DRG) and the CRPF's elite CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), along with Telangana police, launched the operation late Sunday night in the forests of Sakler, Tondamarka and Saletong villages.
South Sukma is considered a stronghold of the Naxal's "military battalion number 1" and the target area is located on the tri-junction of Chhattisgarh's Sukma and Bijapur districts and Telangana's Kothagudem district, the DG said.
When a patrolling team of the DRG was cordoning off a forest patch at around 9:40 am Monday near Sakler village under the Kistaram police station limit, it came under Naxal fire leading to a gun battle, Awasthi said.
Eight Naxals and two DRG personnel, Dirdo Rama and Madvi Joga, were killed in the encounter and an Air Force MI-17 helicopter was dispatched to airlift the bodies, he said.
The DG identified two of the gunned down Naxals as Tati Bhima and woman cadre Podiyam Raje, both "divisional committee" members of the proscribed outfit, each carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on their heads.
He said the ground report, as well as blood stains found at the spot, indicate that several more ultras were either killed or injured in the firefight but other Naxals managed to drag them deep into the forest.
In another operation, a Naxal was gunned down by CoBRA personnel near Elmagunda village under the Chintagufa police station limits, he said.
Awasthi said the two encounters on Monday led to the recovery of at least 10 weapons, including a self-loading rifle, a .315 bore rifle, improvised explosive devices and ammunition.
He said further details on the encounters would be known once the participant troopers reach their camps.
The first three instalments of Operation Prahar were conducted two years ago during which security forces managed to inflict heavy damage on Naxal operations in the Bastar region of the state.
The fourth edition of the offensive was launched soon after state Assembly polls, which were conducted in two phases on November 12 and November 20, Awasthi said, adding that it has yielded results as two Naxals were also killed in Bijapur on Sunday.
(With inputs from agencies.)