At least 10 paramilitary commandos were killed and five others wounded in an attack by Maoists in Bihar's Aurangabad district on Monday.
The commandos, who belonged to the elite COBRA battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force, were killed as Maoists triggered an Improvised Explosive Device or IED in a forest area around 170 km from state capital Patna. Officials say wounded soldiers are still stuck at the spot.
PK Thakur, the director-general of state police, said eight paramilitary soldiers were killed immediately and two of the five wounded died later in a hospital.
The bodies of three dead insurgents were recovered, he said.
The CRPF personnel were conducting anti-rebel operations in the area over the last two days. The CRPF’s director general will visit Gaya on Tuesday to assess the situation.
Bihar DGP PK Thakur said that there were reports of several IED blasts at the encounter site. Officials said the casualties may rise as some of the personnel of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) were critically injured in a fierce gun battle, which was still raging.
After the Maoists opened fire first, the CRPF retaliated and killed three Maoists and injured half-a-dozen others. The Maoists, however, succeeded in taking away their injured associates to safe spots.
Maoist rebels, known as India’s biggest internal security threat, operate in 20 states and have thousands of fighters, according to the home ministry.
The Maoists have been fighting for more than three decades in central and eastern India, staging hit-and-run attacks against authorities as they demand a greater share of wealth from the area’s natural resources and more jobs for farmers and the poor.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday assured the Bihar government of all possible help to tackle the Maoists in the wake of the killing of 10 CRPF commandos by the rebels in the State.
In a telephonic conversation with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Mr. Singh took stock of the situation arising out of the ambush by the Naxals in Gaya.
The Home Minister directed Director General of CRPF K. Durga Prasad to visit Gaya-Aurangabad to assess the situation.
The Chief Minister briefed the Home Minister of the steps taken to nab those involved in the attack on the team of COBRA commandos of CRPF, sources said.
The Home Minister assured the Chief Minister of all possible help to the state government to deal with the situation arising out of the attack, the sources said.