Raipur: Naxals are suspected to have used tree-mounted light machine guns (LMGs) to spray bullets and kill 14 CRPF personnel who were passing through a village during the encounter in Sukma.
Officials said the fortnight-long operations launched by security forces in the jungles of the worst Naxal violence affected area of the state had passed off incident-free largely but for this retreating squad of the 223rd battalion of the paramilitary which came under intense firing.
According to information prepared on the basis of survivors, the CRPF personnel were traversing through Kasalpada village near Chintagufa in the district when they found themselves fired upon by Naxals.
An analysis of the spot done by a reinforcement CRPF party, about 11 km away from the encounter spot, found that Naxals had mounted LMGs on tree tops which can be easily hidden by the thick green foliage.
The slain squad, which included three officers of the unit, which was on foot was taken by surprise but officials said a select few of them were able to find safe locations from where they retaliated.
"In the ensuing gun battle about 14 Naxals have been killed but the forces could not retain their bodies. A number of trapped personnel who were injured did not lose strength and kept on firing," a senior officer privy to the development said.
But the lurking Maoists, being in an advantageous position, made the first kill and also looted an assortment of smart and powerful assault weapons of the troops who were martyred, the officer added.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has now constituted a Court of Inquiry into the incident in which over a dozen personnel were injured.