C’garh encounter: 17 missing cop’s bodies found

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Raipur, March 22 (IANS) All the 17 bodies of the missing security personnel following a gunbattle with Maoists in forests of Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Sukma district were recovered on Sunday, police said.
Of the 17 bodies, 12 are of District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel and five of Special Task Force (STF), state police sources told IANS requesting anonymity.
As per the police, the bodies were recovered during a search operation conducted by a joint team of DRG, STF and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), an elite unit of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The search operation was conducted in Sukma’s forested area around 12 noon on Sunday.
The slain security personnel were among a group of nearly 600 personnel belonging to a joint team of DRG, STF and CoBRA unit of CRPF that had launched an anti-Maoist operation from three sides towards Elmagunda in Sukma on Saturday.
The operation was conducted by the security personnel based on inputs about a huge gathering of Maoists there. The encounter took place around 2.30 p.m. near Korajguda hills in Chintagufa area when the joint team of security forces was out on the operation.
When the team was advancing through Korajguda hills, located around 450 km from the state capital Raipur, the exchange of fire broke out between the two sides near Minpa village by a group of around 250 heavily armed ultras, leaving 15 personnel injured.
The gun battle lasted about two-and-a-half hours following which 17 personnel were found to be missing.
Earlier, the police in a statement said 14 police personnel were injured and 13 were missing after the gunfight.
The injured personnel were airlifted to Raipur and admitted to a private hospital where the condition of two of them is stated to be critical, an official said.