Raipur: Four CRPF jawans were killed and three others injured when Naxals ambushed a road opening party (ROP) of the security forces in Maoist-hit Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on Wednesday.
The ultras also looted the weapons of the troopers after the encounter that lasted for about an hour, they said.
The incident took place in the forest between Murkinar and Cheramungi village in Modakpal area this morning, Additional Director General of Police (Naxal Operations) R K Vij said.
The ROP of the paramilitary forces was clearing the Murkinar-Cheramungi road as CRPF officials were going for some civic action programme in Cheramungi village, located around 450 kms away from the state capital Raipur, Vij said.
While the ROP was heading towards their destination, around 100 armed Naxals, who were hiding in the forest, opened indiscriminate firing on them, killing four troopers on the spot, he said.
Additional forces were rushed to the spot soon after getting the news of the incident, he said.
The deceased have been identified as - Amitabh Mishra (31) from Bankura in West Bengal, Madan Lal Aahkey (30) of Madhya Pradesh, Diganta Bayan (28) of Barpeta in Assam and Dilip Kumar (31) from Chandoli in Uttar Pradesh.
The deceased jawans, of CRPF`s 168th battalion, were constable rank troopers and deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid in the state.
The bodies were later airlifted to Raipur, the ADG said.
Bijapur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said that naxals looted one SLR rifle, one Insas rifle and a LMG (light machine gun) of the jawans during the gun-battle.
According to a CRPF official, three paramilitary troopers were also injured in the incident. Police suspect that some local ultras were leading the cadres during the attack.
A CRPF official said that an intense combing operation has been launched in the region to nab the ultras.