CoBRA officer killed, 9 commandos hurt in Naxal attack

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RAIPUR, Nov 29 (PTI): An officer of the CRPF’s jungle warfare unit, CoBRA, was killed while nine commandos were injured after Maoists triggered an IED blast in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Saturday night, security officials said.

They said the improvised explosive device explosion took place in the Chintalnar forest area of the district at around 9 PM and the injured personnel were evacuated by an IAF helicopter at around midnight.

Assistant Commandant Nitin P Bhalerao, 33, succumbed to injuries in the early hours of Sunday.

Nine commandos, including the team leader second-in-command rank officer Dinesh Kumar Singh, were injured in the incident, they said.

Seven commandos are being treated at a hospital in Raipur, while two are being given medical care at a unit hospital at Chintalnar, located in the south Bastar area of the state, they said.

Sukma district is located at a distance of about 400 km from here.

The injured troops belong to the 206th battalion of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).

A joint team of the CoBRA and local police was out for an area domination exercise when the blast took place, the officials said.

The team was scouting the area for the proposed induction of some new battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force and establishment of their new camps in this area and that is when the IED went off, official sources said.

Five more CRPF battalions are expected to be inducted in Chhattisgarh for anti-Maoist duties after the Union home ministry recently gave its approval.

CRPF director general A P Maheshwari, who took a morning flight from Delhi to reach Raipur, laid a wreath and paid tributes to the officer at a force camp here.

“CRPF stands shoulder to shoulder with the family. The sacrifice won’t go waste. We would carry forward the mission with more vigour and synergy and not let adversaries succeed in their dastardly acts,” he said on his Twitter handle.

Bhalerao, a resident of Nashik in Maharashtra, was a decorated commando and had been adjudged the best in various combat competitions, a senior officer of the force said.

He joined the CRPF in 2010 and had come to CoBRA last year.

He is survived by his mother, wife and a six-year-old daughter, they said.

His mortal remains will be taken by an aircraft that is expected to land in Nashik on Sunday evening, a CRPF spokesperson said.

The CoBRA was raised by the CRPF in 2009 as a special guerrilla combat commando unit for undertaking anti-Naxal operations as well as combating insurgents in the northeast.

 

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