On Sunday, a day after five soldiers were killed in a fierce gunfight between security forces and Maoists in a forest in Jonaguda in Chhattisgarh, a total of 17 dead bodies were found from the site of the encounter. 18 security personnel have been missing since Saturday’s encounter. As the details of the encounter are emerging, it is believed that this is one of the biggest attacks on the security forces in the last few years.
There is not much information about how much Naxals suffered in this encounter or what type of weapons were used against the security forces, but the possibility of a planned attack cannot be ruled out. A female Maoist is believed to have been killed.
News agency ANI quoted CRPF sources as saying that there was a three-hour shelling between the security forces and the Naxalites on Saturday, in which five soldiers were killed. 23 bodies were found on Sunday. About 30 security personnel have been injured. The body of a female Maoist was also found. After the encounter, Naxalites looted more than two dozen weapons from security personnel.
Where did the encounter happen?
The encounter took place inside a forest near Jonaguda, a stronghold of the Naxalites. This area falls on the border of Bijapur and Sukma district of Bastar.
How did the encounter begin?
In fact, on Friday night, different teams of security forces launched a large-scale anti-Naxal operation in the forests of South Bastar. According to reports, security forces were receiving information about Madvi Hidma, a top Naxalite leader associated with the 2013 Jheram Valley massacre. More than 30 people, including senior leaders of the Chhattisgarh Congress, were killed in this attack. The joint operation was initiated from five locations – Tarrem, Ussor and Pamed (Bijapur), and Minapa and Narasapuram at Sukma.
This was followed by a shootout between the Maoists and the sent patrolling team. This team was inside the forest near Jonaguda. The team was therefore ambushed by cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army Battalion.
According to the Hindustan Times, it was not yet clear whether the tip-offs were traps to trap security forces on the spot, or whether the operation actually shook the Naxalites from Hidma’s arrest. Hidma’s security cordon begins about a kilometer earlier in this area. It is likely that the top Maoist leaders would also have been in the vicinity at the time the encounter started.
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