11 killed in Maoist attack at Orissa aluminium mine (Lead)

April 13th, 2009 - 11:04 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, April 13 (IANS) At least seven security personnel and four Maoist rebels were killed in a gun battle at a mine owned by the National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) in Orissa’s Koraput district, police said Monday.
The incident took place Sunday night when over a hundred armed rebels laid siege to the bauxite mine at Panchpatmali, some 370 km from here.

The guerrillas also attacked a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) camp meant to guard a depot where a large quantity of explosives was stored.

“Seven CISF jawans and four Maoists were killed. At least 13 people were injured,” district police Chief Deepak Kumar told IANS.

“Maoists could have targeted the mine for seizing explosives stored there for mining operations,” said an official of the public-sector firm NALCO.

NALCO is Asia’s largest integrated aluminium producer. The bauxite from its Panchpatmali mine feeds the refinery at Damanjodi town nearby.

The company official said the Maoists attacked the mine at about 9.30 p.m. as the night shift was drawing to an end. The 60 night shift workers were stuck at the mine till the end of the gunbattle.

“The mining work in the unit has been stopped Monday,” the official said.

Maoists are active in more than half of Orissa’s 30 districts. They have called for a boycott of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections that are to be held simultaneously April 16 and 23.

There have been several Maoist attacks in the state in the past few weeks.

The rebels killed Somnath Madkami, the Samrudha Odisha party’s candidate for the Malkangiri assembly constituency, last week. They also blew up several mobile towers in the same district.

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