IG Bastar P Sunderraj told reporters in Bastar that a joint team of STF, DRG and CRPF’s CoBRA team were ambushed by an estimated 250 strong Naxal force in Sukma’s Minpa area on Saturday afternoon. “It was a joint operation of DRG, STF and CoBRA, in which more than 600 of our jawans were involved…It was a very tough encounter in which our estimate is around 250 Naxals were firing on our jawans from the other side.”
He added that 5 different teams of DRG and STF came under heavy fire but despite being trapped in an ambush the teams did not lose their composure and scatter in panic, which would have resulted in a much higher casualty figure. “Our jawans gave a fitting response. The Naxals were not able to break and scatter our teams. Still we have 17 casualties and 15 jawans who are injured.”
The IG added that the encounter lasted for about three hours. “Yesterday night we were able to evacuate 15 injured and today we were able to recover the bodies of 17 jawans,” Sunderraj said. According to police’s estimate the ambush was laid by CPI(Maoist)’s battallion number 1, their most dreaded and battle ready force headed by the infamous Naxal leader Hidma.