Ranchi: Maoist guerrillas killed the 13 policemen in Jharkhand by shooting most of the wounded men in their head and also threw two of them into a burning vehicle, officials said on Sunday.
Police officials based on inputs from the attack site in a forested part of Garwah district provided graphic details of the deadly ambush by the guerrillas on Saturday.
Thirteen policemen, including sub-inspector Rambali Singh, were killed and two others injured when the Maoists detonated a powerful landmine and opened fire at the dazed survivors.
Although the policemen were in an anti-landmine vehicle, the blast was so powerful that it hurled high in the air. The ear-splattering explosion was heard in many surrounding villages.
Another blast followed when the injured policemen scrambled out of the vehicle. That was when the Maoists shot them in their head, police sources said.
After killing the policemen, Maoists set on fire the anti-landmine vehicle and threw bodies of two policemen, including Rambali Singh, into it.
The guerrillas spared two injured policemen.
One of them is Sujit Kumar Yadav. According to the sources, Maoists asked his name. The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), which claimed responsibility for the blast, is dominated by the Yadav community in many parts of the state.
After the savagery, the Maoists looted 11 Insas rifles, two AK-47 assault rifles and a revolver from the dead men.
Police officers admitted that one reason why so many policemen died in one stroke is because they had ignored minimum safety measures.
"The incident will be probed. The policemen overlooked police advisory," Jharkhand Director General of Police GS Rath said from Garwah.
The policemen were not wearing safety helmets.
"Many suffered head injuries following the blast," another police officer said.
Rath and other senior officers on Sunday paid homage to the dead policemen in Garwah district.
The policemen had been accompanying Garwah zila parisad president Sushma Mehta, who went missing after the incident along with her guards. Her vehicle was not targeted.
Police have launched a major operation to rescue them.
The CPI-Maoist has reportedly taken responsibility for the massacre.
According to local media reports, the CPI-Maoist said it killed the police personnel to protest against an anti-Maoist operation.
"This is also the outcome of the arrest (of our comrades) Naresh Bhuiya alias Sunilji who went missing after his arrest," the party said.
Since Jharkhand was formed in 2000, 397 security personnel have been killed by Maoists. Maoists are active in 18 of the state`s 24 districts.