Raipur | Three personnel of the state police's District Reserve Guard (DRG) were killed in an encounter with Naxalites in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district on Saturday, a senior official said.
The gunfight took place around 9 am between Jagargunda and Kunded villages when a DRG team was out on patrolling to provide security to road construction in the area, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
The road is being built on a stretch between Jagargunda (Sukma) and Basaguda (Bijapur district).
On February 20, two police personnel had been killed in a Naxalite attack in Rajnandgaon district of the state.
Recently, DRG camps were set up in Kunded village (Sukma) and Bedre (Bijapur) to provide security to the construction work.
A contingent of around 150 DRG personnel had set out for patrolling on Saturday morning from Jagargunda towards Kunded when Naxalites, belonging to the ultras' `military battalion number 1', ambushed it, leading to a heavy exchange of fire, the IG said.
The military battalion no 1 of the Naxalites, headed by Hidma, is considered as their strongest formation in the Bastar region, officials said.
The gunfight lasted for about one hour following which the Naxalites escaped, the IG said.
"Assistant sub-inspector Ramuram Nag (36), assistant constable Kunjam Joga (33) and sainik Vanjam Bheema (31) were killed in the exchange of fire," the IG said.
Reinforcement of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), its elite unit Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) and DRG personnel was rushed to the spot and the bodies of the deceased personnel were evacuated, he said.
A search operation was still underway in the area, located over 400 km away from capital Raipur, he said.
According to the DGR personnel on the spot, half a dozen Naxalites were killed in the encounter but their colleagues managed to drag their bodies inside the forest, he said.
This was a major attack on security personnel in Bastar region after the 2021 Takalgudiyam ambush in the neighbouring Bijapur district in which 22 security personnel were killed.
Tekalgudiyam is located a few kilometers away from the site of Saturday's attack.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel expressed deep grief over the incident and said the martyrdom of the soldiers will not go in vain.