In the last one month, CRPF is learnt to have opened four to five permanent camps in three Naxal hotbeds– the1,200 square km long Bastar-Sukma region, 2,000 sq km AOB (Andhra Odisha border) and the 4,500 sq km Abujmaad forest area. The reason for the new camps was that the force didn’t want its troops to travel several kilometres back to headquarters after operations or area domination exercises.
On Tuesday too, CRPF’s elite CoBRA commandos had averted an ambush around 8 am in Palodi area, which is close to Andhra-Telangana border, but another team of 212th battalion, which was moving in a convoy of motorcycles and two MPVs, was targeted using an IED.
The primary investigation suggests that Naxals used around 50 kgs of explosives to trigger the blast which was triggered from a distance. Maoist commander Hidma and his PLGA (Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army) battalion number 1 is suspected to be behind the attack on Tuesday, which comes exactly a year after 12 CRPF men were killed in a similar ambush in Sukma last year.
Officials said that new CRPF camps inside the deep jungle and inability to cause damage to security forces in firing ambushes has “frustrated” the Naxals, hence they are using IEDs to target the troops.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, director general, CRPF, who had returned from Chhattisgarh on Tuesday morning itself, told TOI that “Naxals have been restricted to a certain jungle area and our troops are entering their den. Naxals know they cannot take on us face to face any more so they are using bombs to target vehicles on road”.
The attack on Border Security Force team in Kilenar village area on March 7 was also triggered by IED in which two BSF officers including an assistant commandant were killed. Other CRPF officers claimed that the new camps inside the jungle have been adequately stocked with arms and ammunition, mini-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for reconnaissance, rations and medicines, making the Naxals ‘jittery’.