Seven security personnel were killed on Wednesday after Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) blasted a police vehicle using landmines in the hilly Sunki-Salur road near Koraput’s Pottangi. The incident broke the calmness after last year’s anti-Naxal operation by Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Police in Malkangiri. Five others were severelly injured and were sent to Visakhapatnam while another policeman is yet to be traced.
The unfortunate vehicle was carrying 12 assistant drivers along with a driver and were on a way to the Police Training College (PTC) at Angul. They were going to attend a training programme when the Maoists triggered the blast between 4.30 pm and 5 pm.
The vehicle collapsed and rolled down the hill roads after being hit by the landmines. The security personnel were a part of Third Battalion of Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) and the district police.
The surfaced picture of the deceased, and grievously injured officers showed how effective the blast was that almost displaced the hilly road. While six policemen died immediately, another died on his way to Salur Hospital.
The landmine attack happened near Sunki at the bordering areas of AP and Odisha, about 40 km from Koraput and almost 15 km from Pottangi.
The injured have been moved to Visakhapatnam, said Director General of Police KB Singh. DIG, South Western Range S Shyni visited the spot to take stock of the situation. Soon after the incident, police teams from Srikakulam and Koraput too reached to the location. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stated anguish over the loss and termed the attack as an ”act of cowardice”.
This is the first major attack by the Red rebels after the effective operation by the Greyhound and Odisha Police in October last year. At least 30 Maoists were killed in the cutoff parts of Chitrakonda reservoir, in the operation.