New Delhi: With their arms supply lines drying up, Maoists in Chattisgarh have staged a series of attacks on paramilitary troopers in the last three months primarily to snatch their weapons, a retired police officer who probed one such massacre said Wednesday, a day after the rebels killed 26 security personnel in an ambush.
"They want weapons. During the course of my inquiry into the (April 6) Dantewada ambush, I had told the police authorities in New Delhi and Raipur that the Maoists may unleash fresh attacks," E.N. Rammohan, a former Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), told IANS.
The primary reason for Tuesday`s attack was "snatching weapons from the security forces", he added.
"Earlier, the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Maoists got some AK-47 rifles from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Some of these might have reached the Chattisgarh Maoists. They had also got some grenades from the Nepal Maoists. But now, all their sources appear to have dried up. That is why they are attacking the security forces to procure weapons," Rammohan pointed out.
He also noted that "the case of the Maoists central India is a peculiar one".
"Kashmiri militants get weapons from Pakistan while the northeast ultras get it from China and Bangladesh. With no international arms channels or bazars nearby, the Maoists have to rely on attacks on security forces and pilferage to acquire weapons," the former BSF chief said.
Twenty-six security personnel, including 24 CRPF troopers and an assistant commandant, were killed Tuesday and about a dozen injured when Maoists ambushed a road opening party in the jungles of the Bastar region`s Naryanpur district.
This was the fourth major Moist attack in the poverty-stricken region in the past three months. In the worst-ever Maoist attack on April 6, 75 CRPF troopers and one state police constable were killed in Dantewada district.
Eight CRPF men were killed in an attack in Bijapur district on May 8, while 36 people, including 12 special police officers, were killed when the bus they were travelling was attacked.
Speaking about the Naryanpur attack, Rammohan felt that the troopers "were slightly careless and were caught off guard. They should not have thought that with the opening of the road, there was no threat".
Asked why the security forces were losing so many men in Chattisgarh, Rammohan said: "A jungle operation needs good appreciation of the terrian, tactics and field craft. It takes time to master jungle warfare."
Rammohan also pointed out that "several suggestions" to prevent Dantewada-type attacks had been mooted by security professionals, including himself, "but implementation will take its own time."
Rammohan had submitted his inquiry report into the Dantewada massacre April 24.