Nine Chhattisgarh policemen killed in Maoist ambush (Second Lead)

May 24th, 2011 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, May 24 (IANS) The bodies of nine police personnel, including an additional superintendent of police, who were missing since Monday afternoon after Maoists ambushed their vehicle near the Chhattisgarh-Orissa border, were recovered Tuesday morning, police said. One policeman is still missing.

Maoists had ambushed a 10-member Chhattisgarh police team led by Additional Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pawar in a thickly forested area at Sonabera in Orissa, some 14 km from the border with Chhattisgarh, Director General of Police Vishwaranjan told IANS.

“Nine bodies have been recovered and a search operation is on to locate the lone missing policeman. I can’t say whether Maoists escaped with the weapons of the slain policemen or not,” he added.

A local journalist, Farookh Menon, who visited the site Tuesday morning, said that the majority of the nine bodies were disfigured and it seemed that the rebels had surrounded the policemen and gunned them down.

“It seems that Maoists hacked the bullet-ridden bodies into pieces with axes,” Menon told IANS over the phone.

Additional Director General of Police Giridhari Nayak said that Maoists ambushed the police personnel when they were returning in a tractor to Gariaband in Raipur district from the Orissa border.

“The police team had gone to the Orissa border in a Bolero vehicle after they received information that two Maoists had surrendered, but the vehicle developed some technical snag and the police team hired a tractor,” he said.

The guerrilla attack has stunned the police department as it is the first Maoist ambush in Raipur district, along the state’s border with Orissa. The Maoist violence was till now confined mainly to Chhattisgarh’s southern tip of Bastar region.

Top police officers in capital Raipur expressed surprise that such a small police contingent was sent to the area which was known to be a Maoist stronghold.

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