Raipur, Oct 20 (IANS) At least 12 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed when Maoists set off landmine blasts and opened fire on a patrol party in a forested stretch in Chhattisgarh's rebel-hit Bijapur district Monday afternoon, police said.
The incident took place in Kongupelli village, some 400 km south of capital Raipur, when heavily armed insurgents waiting at a turning on a hilly portion first triggered multiple landmine blasts and then opened indiscriminate fire on a search party that was on foot. Six CRPF men were also injured and a Maoist was killed, police here said.
'It was a flash attack. The alert CRPF squad, drawn from the 170th battalion, returned the fire but the attack was so heavy and planned that 12 troopers were killed on the spot while six are battling for life,' Girdhari Nayak, chief of the state's anti-Maoist operations, told IANS.
The critically wounded CRPF men have been admitted to the district government hospital in Bijapur town, the district headquarters. The police headquarters here has sent a chopper to bring the injured to Raipur for urgent treatment.
Since the attack site is heavily forested and lacks communication facilities, police officials say they are not sure whether the Maoists managed to take away the weapons of the killed CRPF troopers.
Reinforcements drawn from the State Armed Force and CRPF have been rushed to the site to launch a counter attack.