In a major offensive, Naxals killed 17 security personnel in the jungles of Kasalpad of Sukma district after ambushing them on Saturday evening.
The bodies of 14 personnel, missing since Saturday were recovered on Sunday, Chhattisgarh police said. Earlier on Saturday night, death of three security personnel had been confirmed.
Bastar range inspector general of police (IG) Sundarraj P, while confirming the recovery of bodies said that they were being evacuated out of forest area. The Naxals are also said to have looted 15 arms, including 12 AK-47 rifles during the offensive, the officer confirmed.
Of those killed, 12 personnel are of the District Reserve Group (DRG) and five of the Special Task Force (STF), police have said.
The incident occurred after a join operation of DRG, STF and the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) in the Kasalpad area of Sukma. About 550 personnel of these three units were sent out from the Dornapal camp after information that large number of Maoists had gathered in forests of Kasalpad towards Elmagunda.
The personnel were planning to take the Maoists by surprise, but apparently the information of their entry into the forests reached the Maoists and they allowed the personnel to enter the forests unhindered, sources said.
When the teams did not get any movement of the Naxals in the forest even after going beyond Kasalpad, they started returning. It was then that the Naxals ambushed them from over a hillock, taking the jawans by surprise in dense forest area near a place called Koraj Dongri at around 4pm.
Due to the denseness of the forest, the personnel got separated and the Naxals after opening rounds of fires at them managed to escape, sources said. On Saturday evening, there were reports that 14 personnel had been injured and some ultras killed too. The gun battle is said to have lasted over two hours.
However, by Saturday night police confirmed that three personnel had been killed in the ambush and 14 were missing. The bodies of these 14 were found in the forest by the search teams on Sunday, the Bastar IG said.
Meanwhile, the 14 injured personnel have been shifted to Ramkrishna Hospital in Raipur, where the condition of two of them is said to be critical.