11 soldiers killed and 50 injured in foiled Maoist bid.....
Ranchi: Some police accounts yesterday said almost 400 Maoists, including men and women, carried out the ambush in a forested area of Jharkhand that killed 11 security personnel and injured as many as 50 — the biggest such attack in the state in two years. However, police say the rebels were not able to loot any weapons.
The gunbattle, which lasted nearly five hours in Dhardhariya jungle near Senha, Lohardagga district, on Tuesday, has been seen as an effort by the Maoists to reassert their presence in Jharkhand.
"It was a trap by Maoists. The motive was to loot weapons but our men fought bravely and not a single weapon was looted," R.K. Malek, Jharkhand police spokesperson, said.
Eleven security personnel, eight of them from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and three from the state police, were killed. Six security personnel, including four CRPF men, were killed on the spot. Five others died during treatment. The condition of seven, who were injured, is said to be serious.
According to police, there was a tip-off to the presence of a large number of Maoists near the Dhardhariya waterfall.
Around 100 security personnel comprising both state police and CRPF joined the search operation.
The security personnel found no Maoists and they stayed for sometime near the waterfall. While returning, the rebels detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and started firing indiscriminately.
The guerrillas used loudspeakers and asked security personnel to surrender and throw away their weapons. But security forces retaliated with gunfire. The rebels triggered more than ten IED blasts in total.
Police sources say around 400 Maoists were involved, including men and women, and they were led by Nakul Yadav of the CPI-Maoist.
Around 300 security forces reached the spot three hours after the ambush began. "If there had been delay in back support, then the casualties could have been much more," a police official said.
Police officials privately admit Maoists wanted to create terror by executing a Dantewada-like incident in which 76 security personnel were killed in Chhattisgarh two years ago.