Chhattisgarh police seek army help to defuse mines (India)

Raipur: Chhattisgarh police have sought help from the Army Central Command headquarters at Lucknow to de-mine a 150 km stretch in Chhattisgarh.


De-mining of the area in Maoist violence-hit Dantewada district will allow the paramilitary forces to penetrate into Maoist camps in the deep jungles.

"We have approached Army Central Command Lucknow for sending a full regiment of army engineers as early as possible to Chhattisgarh for de-mining a 150 km stretch in Dantewada district," a senior police official told IANS Saturday.

"Four companies of CPRF troopers and a Nagaland Police battalion deployed in Bastar have been asked this week to go after rebels as they have stepped up attacks during recent months. But without clearing the landmines buried by the rebels, the anti-Maoist operation will be a highly risky one," he added.

The Army Central Command is expected to respond to the Chhattisgarh police request within 48 hours, he said.

According to police, rebels have buried landmines all around 15,000 sq km inaccessible areas of the thick Aboojhmar forest in Bastar region.

The rebels have set up war training centres and explosives units in the area, according to intelligence sources.

Maoists have killed 85 people, including 20 policemen, during the past two months in Dantewada district bordering Andhra Pradesh.

Von: 4.3.2006

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