Maoists set off landmine, kill four BSF men in Orissa

BlastThe powerful explosion tossed a vehicle up in the air

Four BSF personnel were killed and three others injured when suspected Maoists detonated a landmine in Koraput district of Orissa on Tuesday morning.

The blast occurred at a culvert between Pottangi and Sunki Ghat of Koraput on NH 26 around 9 am. From the 161 Battalion of the BSF, the men were on their way to Visakhapatnam from where they were to board a train for their rear base in Gujarat, IGP (Anti-Maoist Operations) Soumendra Priyadarshi said.

The landmine was detonated when three BSF vehicles, carrying 16 personnel, crossed a culvert. So powerful was the explosion that the last vehicle was tossed up in the air, Priyadarshi said. The first two vehicles, which survived the blast, came under fire from the Maoists who had taken positions on a hillock.

"A brave counterattack by other BSF jawans continued for three hours and repelled the Maoists who could not take away arms and ammunition from the vehicles. The BSF jawans did not leave the ground despite the death of four colleagues," he said.

Those killed were identified as ASI Jaswant Singh, Head Constable Vijender Prasad, Head Constable Driver Surinder Singh and Constable Gurdayal.

"It was a planned ambush by the Maoists who had been lying low for sometime in Koraput," Priyadarshi said.

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