In a major joint offensive, separate teams of security forces launched an operation in the South Bastar forests, considered a Maoist stronghold, on Friday night. It was a massive operation that included the STF, DRG and District Force of the Chhattisgarh Police, the CRPF and its elite COBRA unit.
When the patrolling team dispatched from Tarrem was advancing through the forest near Jonaguda, around 500 km from the state capital Raipur, it was ambushed by the Maoists. Twenty two personnel of various security forces were killed in the gunfight which took place. This took the toll to 22 in the biggest massacre in more than a year that also left 30 injured. The gunfight took place in a forest along the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh, the police said. Around 25-30 Naxals were also killed though the exact number is yet to be ascertained. The police in Chhattisgarh said on Sunday that they recovered 17 bullet-riddled bodies of the soldiers, a day after five jawans were killed. The operation was launched from five places – Tarrem, Usoor and Pamed (in Bijapur), and Minpa and Narsapuram (in Sukma) – the police said.
Union home minister Amit Shah will arrive in Chhattisgarh to chair a high-level meeting in connection with the Naxal attack in the state’s Bastar region that claimed the lives of 22 security personnel, a senior official said.