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2 CRPF commandos killed, 6 hurt in encounter with Naxals

Two commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed and six other CRPF personnel, including an officer, injured in an encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Monday, officials said.

A Naxal was also died in the gun-battle, they said.

The gunfight started around 10.30 am in a forest in Irapalli village under Pamed police station limits, located over 400km from here, when security forces were out on a counter-insurgency operation, Inspector General of Police Sundarraj P told PTI.

Separate teams of security forces, numbering around 800, had launched the operation in the Maoist core areas of Sukma and Bijapur districts on Sunday, he said.

One of the patrolling teams, comprising personnel from the CRPF's 151st and CoBRA's 204th battalions, had launched the operation from Tippapuram camp in the forests along the border of Sukma-Bijapur districts, the IPS officer said.

On Monday morning, this patrolling team busted a Maoist camp near Irapalli and was advancing through the area when it came under fire from Naxals, triggering a fierce gun- battle between the two sides, Sundarraj said.

The exchange of fire lasted for about two hours after which the ultras escaped into dense forest, he said.

"Two constables - Vikas Kumar and Purnand Sahu - were killed in the gunfight, while six others, including an officer, sustained injuries", he said.

While Kumar was a native of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh, Sahu hailed from Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh, the IGP said.

The body of a Naxal along with a weapon was recovered from the encounter spot, he said, adding the identity of the deceased was yet to be ascertained.

The injured CRPF personnel were identified as deputy commandant Prashant Kumar, head constable Ajit Singh and constables Giriwar Oraon, P Pawan Kumar, Bibha Basu Mahata and Pawar Pandurang, Sundarraj said.

The killed constables and the injured personnel were part of the 204th battalion of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), an elite unit of the CRPF, he said.

The injured were airlifted to the state capital Raipur for treatment, he said.

The IGP, quoting preliminary information, said the ultras involved in the encounter were members of the dreaded battalion No. 1 of Maoists which is active in south Bastar, the IPS officer added.