Raipur: All the 17 bodies of the missing security personnel following a gunbattle with Maoists in forests of Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Sukma district were recovered on Sunday, police said. In the Chhattisgarh Naxal encounter, at least 13 security personnel were untraceable in the forests by Saturday.
Of the 17 bodies, 12 are of District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel and five of Special Task Force (STF), state police sources told IANS requesting anonymity.
As per the police, the bodies were recovered during a search operation conducted by a joint team of DRG, STF and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), an elite unit of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The search operation was conducted in Sukma's forested area around 12 noon on Sunday.
The slain security personnel were among a group of nearly 600 personnel belonging to a joint team of DRG, STF and CoBRA unit of CRPF that had launched an anti-Maoist operation from three sides towards Elmagunda in Sukma on Saturday.
The operation was conducted by the security personnel based on inputs about a huge gathering of Maoists there. The encounter took place around 2.30 p.m. near Korajguda hills in Chintagufa area when the joint team of security forces was out on the operation.
When the team was advancing through Korajguda hills, located around 450 km from the state capital Raipur, the exchange of fire broke out between the two sides near Minpa village by a group of around 250 heavily armed ultras, leaving 15 personnel injured.
The gun battle lasted about two-and-a-half hours following which 17 personnel were found to be missing.
Earlier, the police in a statement said 14 police personnel were injured and 13 were missing after the gunfight.
The injured personnel were airlifted to Raipur and admitted to a private hospital where the condition of two of them is stated to be critical, an official said.
At least eight security personnel were injured on Saturday in the attack by a proscribed Maoist outfit. One rebel was reportedly killed in the attack.
"A police team was on patrol in the Chintagufa Thana area of the district when the Naxals ambushed them," said a source in the Police Headquarters. "The exchange of fire continued for some time in which eight jawans were injured and a rebel was killed," said a police source.
Sources described the attack as big and that the number of rebels was "large."
Similarly in a Naxalite attack in Bijapur on February 10, of the injured six Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers, two were martyred in the attack.
Ajit Kumar Singh of the CRPF Cobra Battalion had suffered serious injuries on chest, abdomen and spine and was hospitalised in a critical condition. A resident of Alwar in Rajasthan, Singh had undergone a surgery on Monday night.
On a tip-off, the CRPF team had gone to Pamhed area of Bijapur but was ambushed in Cherapalli forest. The retaliatory fire one Naxalite was killed.
(With Agency Inputs)