Monday, June 30, 2008

Cops fell prey to Naxal trap

VISAKHAPATNAM/HYDERABAD: Sunday's assault which saw a large number of cops fall to a Maoist attack was a deadly operation planned with precision. The ultras first sent out information that a conclave was on at Malkangiri in Orissa with the purpose of enticing cops to enter into hostile territory. The cops, upbeat with the intelligence input and sensing a kill, rushed to the spot in large numbers only to find out there was no conclave. Attributing it to leak of information to the ultras that a combing team was coming and assuming that the Maoists had quickly called off their operations, the cops were on their journey back — in a relaxed mood — when the ultras struck. The operation also marked the beginning of mobile warfare by the Maoists who are well-known for their guerrilla tactics. Though the cops were aware the ultras have rocket launchers, they hadn't realised it would be put to use. This is the first time that such a large number of cops have been killed in a single operation. In the past, the biggest killings were by landmine blasts in Chhattisgarh. There have been use of rocket launchers by the Maoists in Prakasam and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh in the past, but without much success. "Sunday's strike, taking advantage of the reservoir surrounded by three hills, marks a new beginning in the Maoist warfare," an Andhra police officer said. Rocket launchers can be fired from even a distance of 1 km. The State Intelligence Bureau had reportedly sent an alert 15 days ago about a possible Maoist strike, but the cops did not pay heed to it. After being chased away from Nallamala, Palnadu and north Telangana regions of Andhra, the Maoists have sneaked into Chhattisgarh and gathered on what they call the 'Andhra-Orissa border zone'. "The Maoists take advantage of the jungles, inaccessible hamlets, poor roads and the tribal population where the government is all but absent," said an analyst. According to the analysts, Sunday's operation was also in retaliation to the Andhra government's recent decision, enhancing cash rewards for the capture of top Maoist leaders

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