Home > Article, Asia-Pacific > Maoists kill 55 policemen in central India attack

Maoists kill 55 policemen in central India attack


RAIPUR: Maoist militants killed 55 paramilitary policemen in the jungles of central India on Tuesday when they ambushed a patrol in one of the biggest attacks by the left-wing insurgents, police said.

A group from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked at dawn in the state of Chhattisgarh and when reinforcements rushed to the scene they were surrounded by hundreds of Maoists, police said.

In a hail of automatic gunfire and landmine explosions, 55 troopers were killed and a heavily armoured anti-mine vehicle sent in to retrieve the wounded was blown up, police and security sources told AFP.

“There are 55 CRPF personnel confirmed killed in the Naxal (Maoist) attack,” head of the local administration in the Dantewada district, Reena Saheb Baba Kangale, told AFP by telephone.

“A hundred security personnel had gone to the jungles for operations and we cannot confirm the exact casualty figure,” a local source in the security forces told AFP in Raipur, 650 kilometres south of Dantewada.

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive that began late last year to hunt down Maoists entrenched in the forests of the so-called “Red Corridor” that stretches across north and eastern India.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the attack showed the “savage nature” of the Maoists and regretted the loss of life.

He has repeatedly said he is ready for talks with the militants on condition they renounce violence. Maoist leaders have said they will only talk once the offensive against them ends.

Chidambaram hardened his rhetoric at the weekend after 10 policemen were killed in a landmine attack in eastern Orissa state, calling the militants “cowards”.

On Monday, he said Naxalism, as the Maoist movement is known in India, was the “first enemy” of the country.

In March 2007, the Maoists were blamed for an attack that killed 55 policemen in Chattisgarh.

In February, 25 policemen were killed in eastern West Bengal when Maoists attacked a camp.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoists the biggest internal security threat to India.

The insurgency began as a peasant uprising in 1967 and has now spread to 20 of India’s 28 states.

Coutesy: DAWN NEWS

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