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Chhattisgarh News
Maoists attack Mi-17 in Bastar, 7 Air Force personnel injured, 3 serious

RAIPUR: In yet another instance of attack on IAF chopper, the Maoists managed to hit an Mi-17 and injured an Air Force personnel onboard in Bastar region on Friday evening. The aircraft had gone to evacuate six CoBRA personnel who had sustained injuries following an encounter with the rebels in Chintagufa area of Sukma district. All the seven cops were airlifted to Raipur around 10 pm. Three of them are serious.

The incident took place when a CoBRA team led by CRPF’s Chhattisgarh IG HS Siddhu had an encounter in Elmagunda forests near Chintagufa. IG’s gunman Rupak Rawat was among the injured. The CRPF and the state police have been conducting a massive operation in interior zones of Sukma district over the last week. Several parties comprising a total of over 5000 personnel are combing the Maoist-hit area.

“Over a dozen operations are going on in Bastar region. Today was the first instance that we faced such resistance from Maoists. Our 5000 personnel are still present in various areas. Total seven personnel were injured today. All have been shifted to Raipur,” Bastar IG SRP Kalluri said.

In a related incident, three personnel were injured when they were diffusing a landmine in Bijapur district today.

While elaborate security guidelines are issued to ensure the safety of Mi-17 in Bastar, Maoists have often managed to hit these choppers. Last year, the rebels had hit several bullets and grounded a Mi-17 in same Chintagufa area, forcing the IAF personnel to abandon it and escape to safety. The aircraft remained in forests for a few days before it was retrieved by engineers.

In December 2011, the rebels fired at an Mi-17 which was on an operational sortie in interior forests of Sukma in. Nearly 10 bullets had hit the IAF chopper that subsequently lost its communication and was reported missing for some time. During 2008 Assembly polls, Maoists had even managed to kill an election officer onboard the chopper that was on a poll duty in Bastar.