At least 10 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandos, who belonged to its elite COBRA battalion, were killed and five others injured in a Naxal Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in the jungles of Bihar's Aurangabad district, on Monday.
According to latest reports, four naxals have also lost their lives.
The jawans of the COBRA unit were ambushed in the IED blast after which an encounter began on the afternoon of 18 July between the two, resulting in the killing of three naxals by late night, said officials.
"While eight personnel were killed on the spot, two others succumbed to their injuries when they were being evacuated," a senior official said.
Officials said five other personnel were critically injured in the fierce gun battle that ensued after the IED blast.
A Jagran report listed the names of the 10 commandos who died in the attack:
1) HC/GD Anil Kumar Singh(r/o-Buxar,BHR)
2) HC/GD K Opendra Singh(r/o-Thoubal,MNP)
3) CT/GD Sinod Kumar(r/o-Azamgarh,UP)
4) CT/GD Ramesh Kumar(r/o-Hosiarpur,PNB)
5) CT/GD Diwakar Kumar(r/o-Khgariya,BHR)
6) CT/GD Polash Mondal(South Denajpur,WB)
7) CT/GD Deepak Ghosh(Nadia,WB)
8) CT/GD Manoj Kumar(r/o-Betul,MP)
9) CT/GD Harvender Panwar(r/o-Muzaffarnagar,UP)
10) CT/GD Ravi Kumar(r/o-Siwan,BHR)
The incident was reported from the Chakarbanda-Dumarinala forests of Aurangabad district, bordering Gaya.
Some arms and ammunition, including an AK-47 rifle, INSAS rifle and under barrel grenade launcher were also recovered from the site.
The Jagran report stated that Aurangabad's SP Baburam received death threats from Naxalites a week ago.
On Monday, jawans from the 205th COBRA battalion were reportedly deployed in the state for conducting anti-naxal operations.
Acting on a tip off related to the CRPF jawans' operation, the naxals attacked the battalion following which the encounter began.
Around 50 to 60 personnel are still expected to be stranded in the forest.
Saurabh Kumar, DIG of Magadh Zone, has issued an alert in all the stations of Gaya and Aurangabad. The report added that according to the DIG, the operation by CRPF-COBRA has now been intensified.
Home Minister assures assistance
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 19 July has 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. The minister expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved martyrs and wished a speedy recovery to the injured personnel.
In a telephonic conversation with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Singh took stock of the situation arising out of the ambush by the Naxals in Gaya.
The Home Minister has directed Director General of CRPF K Durga Prasad to visit Gaya-Aurangabad to assess the situation. The Chief Minister has 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.
Search Operations launched
This is one of the biggest casualties of the elite COBRA unit which has been raised by the CRPF for undertaking special jungle warfare operations.
Additional reinforcements of the state police and CRPF have reached the spot and a search operation has been launched.
Medical facilities delayed following bad weather
According to the Jagran report, the injured jawans received medical facilities with a delay of over 10 hours following bad weather due to which it was highly difficult for the helicopter to land.
-With PTI inputs