A CRPF trooper who survived the massacre of 25 colleagues by Maoists in Chhattisgarh said on Tuesday that 50 insurgents would be killed in revenge.
Constable Mahendra Kumar, warded in a hospital here, said in a slow and halting voice that he himself would go back to Sukma district, where the carnage took place on Monday, once he recovers.
Sounding weak and with his head bandaged, Kumar said from the hospital bed that the Central Reserve Police Force contingent was in a forested patch to give security to workers engaged in building a road.
“Suddenly firing began from our left,” he told journalists. “From nowhere 30 to 40 Maoists emerged and began firing.
“When we began retaliatory firing, they split into two or three groups and scattered in three directions.
“One group went to our front, got into a pit that had been dug up and resumed firing. The others took us on from both the left and right side.”
Kumar felt that 25 to 30 Maoists were injured in the counter firing by the CRPF.
Suddenly, a bullet grazed Kumar’s shoulder, felling him. When he woke up, he found himself in a hospital.
Other CRPF troopers who escaped the massacre had similar tales.
One wounded trooper said he suspects a few cowherds who came to the spot the CRPF personnel were located in, apparently passed on the information to the Maoists.
“They saw our location. We suspected something but could not do anything since they were not armed.
“About 15 minutes after they left, scores of Maoists appeared on the scene, dressed in black. And they attacked us from all sides. We too hit back.”
According to him, the Maoists had AK-47 assault rifles, Self Loading Rifles, INSAS Rifles, rocket launchers and mortars.
“In fact they had all the weapons that the CRPF has.”
After the Monday carnage, the attackers escaped with several more weapons, adding to their weaponry in a vast forested tribal-dominated region where the Maoists have run a parallel state for decades.
A third CRPF trooper put the number of Maoists who ambushed them at about 300. They outnumbered the 99 CRPF personnel who were readying for lunch when they were targeted.
It was the worst attack by Maoists on security forces in Chhattisgarh since 2010.