- 11 security forces were ambushed while travelling in Sukma district
- Explosives used were concealed under dirt track, huge quantity used
- Injured personnel were evacuated in a helicopter to Raipur
The Maoists had targetted the 212 Battalion of the CRPF, which was on an area domination exercise in the forests of Kistaram. The group was on its way from Kistaram to Palodi in an anti-landmine vehicle, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting DM Awasthi, a senior officer of the anti-Maoist operations.
As the vehicle passed, the Maoists detonated multiple Improvised Explosive Devices, which had been concealed under the dirt track.
Several of the 11 paramilitary personnel in the vehicle died on the spot. One of the injured men died while being airlifted to Raipur for treatment.
Today's attack comes just about a year after 25 CRPF personnel died in Sukma -- a notoriously backward zone where Maoist violence has held up all developmental activity. The attack, in which Maoists had planted IEDs in a similar fashion, took place on March 11, in Bheji area. Another attack took place in December, when Maoists torched 27 vehicles involved in road construction.
In a tweet today, Union minister Rajnath Singh called the deaths "deeply distressing".
Today's IED blast in Sukma, Chhattisgarh is deeply distressing. I bow to each and every security personnel who attained martyrdom while serving the nation.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) March 13, 2018
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, too, tweeted from his official handle.
"The Maoist attack in Sukma, Chhattisgarh in which 9 CRPF jawans lost their lives is tragic. It reflects a deteriorating internal security situation due to flawed policies. My condolences to the families of those killed. To those who have been injured, I wish a speedy recovery," his tweet read.
His party also attacked the Central government. Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said since the demonetisation in November 2016 -- a move the government said was aimed at controlling terror funding -- 23 major attacks by Maoists taken place. In the attacks, 97 security personnel and 121 civilians have died.