CoBRA reaches Bastar to join anti-Naxal ops

Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) personnel have reached Chhattisgarh's tribal Bastar region, one of the worst Maoist affected regions in the country, to join the anti-Naxalite operations.

As many as 400 personnel of the CoBRA force are now based at a camp of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Masgaon and the remaining 657 personnel of the battalion are expected to be in Bastar by April this year, official sources said.

The Centre has agreed to provide two battalions of this newly raised commando force to tackle the growing Maoist threat.

The new force has young personnel with peak combat fitness have specialised training and carry modern equipment for guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare.

The Bastar region, in the southern part of Chhattisgarh, has emerged as the epicentre of Maoist activists with the rebels stepping up violence in the region since June 2005 following the launch of anti-Naxalite movement Salwa Judum by the locals which enjoys the support of the state Government.

Official figures indicate that more than 1,400 people, including civilians and security personnel belonging to the state police as well as para-military, have lost their lives in Naxalite-related violence in this region during the last three years.

Maoists have their presence in all the five districts of Bastar region while they are proactive in south Bastar - the areas bordering neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

A major portion of Dantewada district falls under the so-called "liberated zone of Dandakaranya", where the rebels are said to be virtually running a parallel government The government, however, describes the region as an "area dominated by the Maoists".

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