Five policemen were killed and as many injured when Maoists triggered a landmine blast in Jharkhand's Latehar on Friday, even as the police chief of the district had a providential escape as the vehicle behind his car blew to bits.
Latehar police chief Kuldip Diwedi had a narrow escape when the landmine blew up a patrol van following his car, killing five security personnel and wounding five others at Kutmu More.
"I was the target of the Maoists, but the landmine went off moments after my car passed the path at Kutmu More," Diwedi told reporters soon after reaching the headquarters.
"Unfortunately the van following my car carrying the personnel of the Jharkhand Jaguar Force was blown up, killing five on the spot and injuring five others," the SP said.
The third van in the convoy came to a screeching halt as the personnel jumped out to take positions to respond to indiscriminate gun fire by the Maoists.
The SP was returning after leading a long range patrolling in Maoist-affected areas.
The dead security men were identified as Ashok Kumar, Mohan Niraj, Duduwa Munda, Gopal Lakra and Prakash Yadav, the police said, adding that the van was badly mangled in the explosion.The wounded security men -- Samresh Singh, Guruev Prasad, Suleman Dhan, Chandra Mohan and Suresh Toppo -- have been admitted to a hospital in Palamau's Medininagar.