Bodies of eight commandos slain by Maoists recovered (Lead, changing dateline)

July 4th, 2008 - 11:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar/Visakhapatnam, July 4 (IANS) Navy divers Friday recovered the bodies of eight more personnel of Andhra Pradesh police’s elite Greyhounds force killed in an ambush by Maoist guerillas in the Balimela reservoir in Orissa June 29, police said. With this, the number of bodies retrieved during the last five days rose to 18, but 15 personnel are still feared trapped in the sunken motorboat.

Visakhapatnam Superintendent of Police A. Sabharwal said the bodies could be trapped in the boat’s cabin.

The Maoist ambush of June 29 left 38 security personnel missing.

The rebels attacked a motor-launch carrying Andhra Pradesh police’s elite anti-Maoist force when they were returning from neighbouring Orissa after assisting the police there to crack down on the rebels.

According to the police, the launch had 66 people, including 61 commandos, two Orissa Police constables and three employees of the vessel owner, on board when it capsized.

The boat sank under heavy firing by Maoists. While 28 personnel swam ashore, the remaining were missing and the police forces of the two states with the help of the navy are carrying out intense search operations in Balimela reservoir, about 220 km from Visakhapatnam.

The motorboat was traced by the search teams two days ago but it was yet to be retrieved.

Five of the eight bodies recovered Friday were identified and airlifted to King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam for autopsy. The bodies of 10 personnel retrieved earlier were sent to their native places in various districts, where they were cremated.

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