Maoists blow up police bus, 10 killed


Bhubaneswar: Maoist guerrillas Sunday detonated a powerful landmine and blew up a police bus, killing at least 10 security personnel and injuring nine in Orissa’s Koraput district, an official said.

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The rebels detonated the landmine about 14 km from Baipariguda town, some 540 km from here, when a large number of the state police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel were going in three vehicles, Deputy Inspector General of Police Sanjeeb Panda told IANS.

They blasted one of the buses, completely destroying it, he said.

“At least 10 security personnel were killed. The number of deaths may go up,” Panda said.

At least nine policemen were injured in the Maoist attack.

The blast was so powerful that the vehicle was thrown up about 50 feet up in air. The scattered pieces fell in a ditch about 30 feet down from the hilly road, an eyewitness said.

“It was a powerful blast. The landmine was so powerful that it created a ten feet ditch on the road,” local police officer Prakash Kumar Nayak said.

The injured policemen have been shifted to Visakhapatnam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in an Indian Navy chopper for treatment, he added.

Condemning the attack, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed it “a cowardly act”.

“It was a savage and cowardly act. Our forces are making a tremendous efforts to fight the terrible menace (of Maoists),” Patnaik said.

The chief minister has announced compensation of Rs.8 lakh, insurance of Rs.10 lakh and a job for the next of kin of each of those killed. He has also said the government will bear the treatment cost of the injured personnel.

Maoists are active in more than half of the state’s 30 districts. Koraput district is considered their stronghold.

Maoist rebels claim they are fighting for the poor, deprived and neglected sections of society, often carrying out attacks on landlords and contractors. They also regularly attack police, government establishments and factories in the state.

According to official figures, from 2001 to 2009 the rebels killed at least 145 policemen and 93 civilians in Orissa while the number of Maoists killed by the police was only 61.

Maoist militancy in southern, northern and north-western parts of the state continues to be an area of major concern for the state government, officials said.