Two BSF troopers killed in landmine explosion

Jepore: Two BSF troopers including Deputy Commandant were killed in a landmine explosion carried out by Naxals when they were out on a bike patrol in the jungles of Koraput district of Odisha.

The incident occurred around 1:00 PM when a team of about twenty Border Security Force personnel were returning from an operational task in Dandabari village of the said district on ten motorcycles and the first carrying the team commander and his jawan got trapped into the blast carried out by using a hidden bomb on the dirt track.

The jawan driving the bike, constable S P Panda, was killed on the spot while pillion rider and commander of the squad Deputy Commandant Sunil Kumar Behra succumbed to his injuries later.

“The two men sustained fatal injuries from shrapnels and heavy explosives used in the IED cleverly hidden and planted under the road by Naxals. A big crater was created at the spot where the bike was blown off,” officials said.

They said the bike was tossed high in the air due to the impact of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast and the rest nine motorcycle-borne teams immediately took positions suspecting a gunfire from hiding Maoists.

“However, the Naxals did not rain heavy gunfire on the patrol party and they escaped into the jungles after firing few shots. The BSF team was returning to its base in Ramagiri from Dandabari village after verifying reports of killing of a civilian by suspected Maoist cadres,” they said.

The patrol party led by Behra belonged to the 143rd battalion of the BSF deployed in Koraput for undertaking anti-Naxal operations.

Officials said in order to escape getting trapped into IED and hidden explosive booby-traps in jungle tracks of Left Wing Extremism (LWE) areas, the troops very rarely use four-wheelers and rely on motorcycles for movement.

This is a rare incident in the LWE theatre when bike-borne personnel of security forces were hit by a Naxal planted IED, the most potent weapon used by ultras to target forces in these areas.

The BSF has constituted a Court of Inquiry into the incident even as additional forces have been deployed for sanitisation of the blast area and adjoining villages for similar IEDs and bombs.

Maoists are observing a two-day ‘bandh’ in Nuapada, Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts from Friday to protesting ‘Operation Greenhunt’, a joint operation by security forces against Maoists.

Meanwhile chief minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the attack on BSF jawans on his twitter page.

“Condemn the attack on BSF personnel in Koraput..Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families”, Patnaik tweeted.