Maoists kill 7 security personnel in Jharkhand, 3 missing

FP

Six CRPF personnel and one Jharkhand Jaguar special task force policeman were shot dead by Maoists in the state's Latehar district on Monday. Twelve personnel were injured; three CRPF men were missing till late on Monday night.

The injured, including three critically wounded men, waited hours for medical attention as bad weather prevented an IAF helicopter from landing at the site.

The Maoist group involved in the four-hour encounter is believed to have been headed by Arvind, an important leader thought to be holed up in the area for the past 25 days. The CRPF had been camping there since December 20 to try and capture him. The encounter, named 'Operation Saamna', involved about 220 CRPF and some Jharkhand Police personnel.

After about five hours, the injured men were driven to the nearest railway station, put on a train and sent to a hospital in Daltonganj town, two hours away.

Armed with AK-47 rifles, the Maoists fired incessantly at the raiding team. Officials claimed at least four Maoists were killed, but no bodies have been recovered.

"The men were gunned down when they were climbing the hills, the four men in the front line died instantly while eight others received bullet injuries," Pankaj Kumar Singh, IG (Operations), CRPF, said.

The CRPF depends on an IAF Mi-17 and a BSF Dhruv chopper for rescue operations in the Maoist-hit areas of Jharkhand and Bihar. The Mi-17 helicopter can't operate in low-visibility conditions.

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