At least 11 CISF jawans and four Maoists were killed in a gunfight triggered by a daring pre-poll attack by the ultras who attacked NALCO's bauxite mine in Orissa's Koraput district, on Monday (April 13) morning.
Central Reserve Police Force (CISF) personnel and the Special Operations Group (SOG) were sent to the site after more than 200 Naxalites stormed Panchpatmali mine at Damonjodi in Koraput district on Sunday (April 12) night.
"Eleven CISF jawans posted at hilltop mines in Damanjodi were killed and 15 others injured in the gunbattle that continued for over five hours after the ultras struck last night," Director General of Police MM Praharaj said.
NALCO Chairman and Managing Directror CR Pradhan has said that all the employees were safe and have been set free. "They were set free at around six in the morning after the special operation group reached the spot," he said.
The well planned attack, apparently aimed at disrupting the upcoming polls and loot explosives, took place shortly after 9.30 pm last night in Asia's biggest bauxite mines.
The ultras also blew up a mobile phone tower in the site affecting telecommunication besides erecting obstacles on the circuitous hilly roads towards the hilltop.
Force movement was also slow due to darkness, while the jawans had to move cautiously as there were fears of Maoists having laid land mines in the area.
An alert was sounded in the entire region even as the incident triggered panic among people in nearby township.
The attack came close on the heels of Maoist strikes in Malkangiri and Rayagada districts. The ultras have killed Samruddha Odisha Party candidate for Malkangiri assembly seat.
The ultras have also given poll boycott call in several Maoist-affect districts of Orissa.
In a similar attack in 2004, Maoists had looted police armoury in Koraput district, while armoury and other police establishments had been attacked and looted by the ultras in Nayagarh district in February, 2008.