Raipur: A police squad had a narrow escape after Maoist guerrillas ambushed it with a landmine blast and engaged it in a gun battle on the Bijapur-Gidam Road in Dantewada in southern Chhattisgarh, officials said.
However, only four policemen sustained minor injuries in the engagement, early 500 km south of Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, officials added.
"Maoist guerrillas set a tipper truck coming to Bijapur from Jagdalpur afire near Surokhi village under Gidam police station. A team of district police personnel rushed to the spot from Dantewada on being informed. As soon as the police team reached near the spot, Maoist insurgents hiding in bushes triggered a landmine blast and also started firing indiscriminately.
Four jawans suffered minor injuries," Dantewada Superintendent of Police Narendra Khare told IANS Monday.
Official sources said the truck that was set on fire belonged to Jaya Construction, Tokapal, and was laden with metal used in road construction. It was on its way to Bhairamgarh in Bijapur district when Maoist guerrillas attacked near Surokhi village on the Gidam-Bijapur Road.
After setting the tipper on fire, the guerrillas planted land mines near the spot, and waited for security forces to reach the site.
As soon as police squad approached the burning truck, the militants set off a blast and started indiscriminate fire. The forces were at a safe distance, and retaliated. After a gun battle that lasted half an hour, the ultras fled.
The injured policemen were identified as Lalit Netam, Poshan Bhuarya, Trilochan Kashyap and Rajendra Prasad.
During a search at the spot, security forces recovered a powerful pressure bomb that could have been used to trigger another blast.
Officials pointed out this attack could be seen in the context of the vehement opposition of Maoist guerrillas to road construction in the seven districts of Bastar division of Chhattisgarh, as they fear easy access for security personnel to rural areas, where the Maoists virtually run a parallel government.