30 Greyhound jawans missing in Chitrakonda boat tragedy

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Malkangiri, Jun 29 (UNI) Thirty 'Greyhound' jawans of Andhra Pradesh went missing after a motor boat carrying them capsized in the Chitrakonda reservoir during an encounter with Naxalites today.

Twenty jawans were rescued.

The boat, carrying over 50 jawans, including two Orissa Police jawans, capsized near Janbai when armed Naxalites opened fire at the 'Greyhound' jawans returning after a combing operation in the cut off areas on the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border.

Malkangiri Superintendent of Police S K Gojbhiye informed UNI by telephone that so far 20 'Greyhound' jawans have been rescued, eight of them managed to reach the shore and nearly 30 were still missing.

He said the Naxalites, who were hiding at a place close to Janabai in the Chitrakonda reservoir, opened fire when the boat approached a narrow passage.The boatman left the boat soon after the exchange of fire between the rebels and the force.

The SP said at least four jawans received bullet injuries and were admitted to the Malkangiri District Headquarters hospital along with four other jawans who were also injured in the encounter.

He said a search operation was on to trace the missing jawans and Vishakhapatnam Police had been requested to press a helicopter in the rescue operation forthwith.

The accident site, sources said, is about 150 km from here and inaccessible. Neither the Andhra Pradesh nor the Orissa Police have been able to approach the site so far.

Police said the 'Greyhound' team was entering Orissa from West Vishakhapatnam district for combing operation when the Naxalites attacked them.

The team was scheduled to go back to Andhra Pradesh after the combing operation was over when the tragedy struck.

UNI DP PL AB AKJ RK1651

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