Two security personnel were killed and six others were injured in the over four-hour-long gunfight on Sunday last in the forests of Bhejji, considered a Maoist stronghold, while as per reports, 20 terrorists were killed.
The ambush was designed on the lines of Burkapal attack but counter-insurgency forces successfully foiled the assault planned by the CPI (Maoist) and inflicted "heavy casualties" on the terrorists, the police officer said.
"Military battalion No. 1 of Maoists had planned to carry out a major attack on a contingent of the Special Task Force and the District Reserve Guard near Elarmadgu, 7 kilometres from Bhejji," Special Director General (Anti-Naxal Operations) DM Awasthi said.
"But security forces not only broke their ambush but also inflicted heavy casualties on Naxals, forcing them to retreat into dense forests," he said.
This Maoists, active in southern part of Bastar, has been blamed for several deadly attacks on security forces in the region.
On April 24 last year, the same Maoist unit had ambushed a patrolling party of the Central Reserve Police Force near Burkapal village under Chintagufa police station limits when it was providing security to road construction works, officials said.
Twenty-five jawans were killed and seven others were injured in the attack. "Perhaps on the same model, Maoists had planned the attack on Sunday near Elarmadgu," Mr Awasthi said.
A 20-km-long road between Injeram and Bhejji has been completed. The road is now being expanded to Chintagufa from Bhejji, where police and paramilitary personnel were providing security to construction projects, he said.
On Sunday morning, a 90-member squad of the DRG and STF commandos launched an area domination operation towards Elarmadgu from Bhejji, during which they got inputs about the movement of terrorists, the Indian Police Service officer said.
Some 200 Maoists divided in two groups had laid the ambush in the area, he said. While security forces were taking positions, they came to know that Maoists have killed a contractor and torched eights tractors and one JCB machine near Elarmadgu, he said.
Suddenly, the terrorists fired on the DRG and STF commandos from two sides at 11:30 am but the security forces did not panic and after the initial burst of fire, launched a heavy retaliatory action, the officer said.
Security forces successfully countered the ambush and inflicted "heavy casualties" on Naxals, Mr Awasthi said.
He said it was a well-calculated attack on the DRG and STF who have been at the forefront of anti-Naxal operations for the past few years. Two DRG assistant constables were killed in the gunbattle, Mr Awasthi said, adding there were reports that 20 Maoists were killed in the exchange of fire.