Hyderabad: Two forest officers were killed and three others were injured in an attack by red sander/sandalwood smugglers in Andhra Pradesh`s Chittoor district Sunday, police said.
About 100 smugglers attacked a forest department team in Seshachalam forests of Chittoor district near Tamil Nadu border, about 500 km from here.
According to officials, the team comprising eight officials and guards came under attack near Thumburu Theertham, a water body in the deep forests. The smugglers carried out the attack with stones when the team was looking for their colleagues who had ventured into the forests Saturday.
Deputy Range Officer Sridhar and Assistant Beat Officer David Kumar were killed in the gruesome attack, which indicate the growing activities of the red sander smugglers in the region. Three others were also injured while another three remained untraced after they fled the scene.
Senior officials with forces rushed to the forests and launched combing operations. The injured were shifted to SVIMS Hospital at temple town of Tirupati.
Two vehicles were also damaged in the attack, which sent shock wave in the forest department. The personnel are demanding the government to provide them arms for use in self-defence.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed shock over the incident and ordered a probe. He directed Principal Chief Conservator of Forests BSS Reddy to rush to the spot and ensure best medical treatment to injured staff. He also asked him to conduct an inquiry and submit report.
The chief minister also directed police officials to take stringent action against the red sander smugglers.