Over 100 Naxals on Wednesday ambushed a team of security forces in Chhattisgarh's tribal belt of Bastar on the eve of Lok Sabha polls, killing three commandos of CRPF's CoBRA battalion and injuring five others including two officers in twin attacks.
In the first incident in Sukma district, Naxals opened heavy fire on a patrol of the specialised anti-Naxal operations force CoBRA that was coming back from Burkapal after escorting poll officials to the Maoist stronghold for Thursday’s polls in Bastar.
"The incident occurred in Chintagufa police station limits when the security forces were returning after dropping a polling party at its destination this morning," Sukma Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Chandrakar told PTI.
Officials said a strong squad of about 100 Naxals surrounded the party from three sides, leading to the killing of three commandos while three others, including a deputy commandant rank officer were injured.
"The troops were hit on the back," a senior official said.
A joint "cordon and search" operation of CRPF and state police was launched to track the Maoists.
The slain commandos have been identified as Chandrakant Ghosh, Narshimha and Ranbir S and the injured DC as R K Singh.
All the troops belong to the 206 CoBRA battalion based in Jagdalpur.
"We are alive to every possibility and we will conduct the polls peacefully," a senior security official monitoring the security forces deployment in Delhi said.
Bastar IG Arun Dev Gautam said the incident occurred around 10:30 am after the Naxals ambushed the commando patrol party which was moving on foot.
In the second incident in neighbouring Bijapur, Maoists carried out two powerful blasts in the morning hours, injuring two CRPF personnel.
Officials said a patrol squad of the force was on an operational task when two improvised explosive devices went off in the forests of Bijapur near Gangloor village.
"The incident occurred when a Road Opening Party of the paramilitary force was on an operation for election-related security in Gangaloor police station area this morning," Bijapur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said.
"During the operation, the personnel came in contact with a pressure bomb that exploded," he said.
Inspector Resham Lal and Constable Pushpraj of the 85th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force were injured in the incident, he said, adding both of them are stated to be out of danger.
The Maoist-hit Bastar constituency of Chhattisgarh is the lone seat going to the polls in the first phase of parliamentary election in the state on Thursday.