Maoist Attack: 39 feared killed in Malkangiri, injured Jawans airlifted to Visakhapatnam

30 06 2008

By Anurjay Dhal

Malkangiri District Map

Bhubaneswar ( Orissa) : At least 15 security men OUT of 26, who were rescued from Chitrakonda across the Balimela Reservoir in Malkangiri district under the South-Western Police range of Orissa , have been airlifted to Visakhapatnam by a Indian Navy chopper for further treatment, Home Department sources said here on Sunday.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has sent another helicopter for the search operations being conducted by local divers, the fire brigade and the police.

Meanwhile, till last reports came in, about 39 security men mostly from Andhra Pradesh Greyhound Jawans were feared drowned in a boat capsize after they came under attack from Maoists hiding in a hilltop in Malkangiri district.

The police team consisting of over more than 60 was returning to Sileru in Andhra Pradesh after undertaking combing operations in search of the Maoists along bordering areas, when the rebels mounted an attack on the launch.

State DGP Gopal Chandra Nanda said the gun battle took place near Alampetta village when the elite Greyhound Force was sailing to Chirakonda across the Balimela reservoir on the border with Andhra Pradesh for a joint operation against the Maoists.

Among the 64, there were two Orissa police constables and two — the boatman and the helper — were from the Irrigation Department, Malkangiri SP Satish K Gajbhiye told over phone. The four were among those missing.

Gajbhiye said there was an exchange of fire between the ultras and the security personnel for some time, with the rebels targeting the boatman.

“The Maoists mounted an LMG attack on the launch. As they came under attack, they must have rushed to other side of the launch, which capsized,” police sources said quoting preliminary reports reaching the State Capital here said.

After the Grey Hounds personnel fell into the reservoir, Maoists used country boats to reach them and opened fire on those trying to swim ashore, police sources added.

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VISAKHAPATNAM: It is believed that a training session organised by the State military committee of the CPI (Maoist)’s Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee near the State border during the last few days prompted the Greyhounds to launch the joint operation with the Orissa police.

But they became virtually sitting ducks with 62 of them travelling in the same motor launch to cross the Chitrakonda (Balimela) reservoir while the Maoists positioned themselves at vantage points on the surrounding hillocks. The recently formed military committee had reportedly stalked the Greyhounds after noticing their movement, as they were returning to the Andhra Pradesh border on Sunday morning.

The motor launch became an easy target and the Maoists reportedly used a rocket launcher first before opening fire with their other weapons.

Hyderabad Special Correspondent adds: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy will leave for Visakhapatnam on monday morning to visit the spot and oversee rescue operations.

The Chief Minister would leave after the Cabinet meeting while the Home Minister early in the morning.

The Chief Minister reviewed the situation with the Home Minister and senior police officers.