BHUBANESWAR: Left-wing extremists struck again in Orissa’s Malkangiri district on Wednesday evening killing at least 20 policemen. They triggerred a powerful landmine blast.
Unofficial reports put the death toll at 24.
“Nearly 20 policemen have been killed in the attack,” Director-General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda told The Hindu over the phone.
This was the second major Maoist strike in the district in less than 20 days. As many as 38 people were killed when a boat carrying Greyhound personnel from Andhra Pradesh was ambushed in the Chitrakonda reservoir on June 29.
The landmine blast occurred at 4 p.m. in the MV-126 area when an anti-landmine van carrying the police team was returning to the district headquarters town of Malkangiri. They had gone to MPV-41 village, where a contractor’s house was attacked by Maoists on Tuesday night.
According to sources, 29 policemen were in the party that visited MPV-41 village. While a majority of them were in the vehicle, the remaining were on motorcycles.
Soon after causing the blast, the Maoists, hiding in the nearby forest, fired at the policemen.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the Maoist attack and condoled the death of the policemen.
The government announced a compassionate grant of Rs.4 lakh and insurance cover of Rs.10 lakh each to the families of the victims.