32 Greyhound Jawans missing after Naxalite attack

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Malkangiri, Jun 30 (UNI) As many as 32 Greyhound jawans of Andhra Pradesh and five Orissa police personnel remained untraced since yesterday after a motor boat, ferrying nearly 64 jawans, was capsized in the Chitrakonda reservoir during an encounter with Naxalites near Alampeka, about 80 kms from here.

Malkangiri Superintendent of Police S K Gojbhiye said here today that so far one boatman and 28 Jawans, including one Orissa police constable, had returned after the incident and 15 of them, who received bullet injuries, were airlifted to Vishakhapatanam for treatment.

The Greyhound jawans from West Vishakhapatnam district, engaged in combing operation in the Orissa-Andhra Pradesh border, were returning in a motor boat from Janabai when the armed Naxalites, hiding on a hilltop near Alampeka, suddenly attacked them with grenades and fired indiscriminately.

The jawans retaliated but the motor boat, in the wake of heavy exchange of fire, capsized in the Chitrakonda reservoir forcing the Greyhound personnel to jump into the reservoir for their safety.

Mr Gojbjiye said till last night 29 jawans had been traced while the fate of 37 others was yet to be ascertained as the site was in a difficult terrain and the police forces were unable to reach the spot.

He said a huge search-rescue and combing operation has been launched jointly by the Orissa Police, Andhra Pradesh Police, CRPF and Navy to trace out the missing Greyhound and Orissa police personnel.

The DIG South Western Range, SP Visakhapatanam, SP Greyhound and Commandant from the CRPF were monitoring the rescue and combing operation.

One helicopter has also been pressed into service to find out the missing jawans inside the reservoir.

The SP said there are chances of survival of the Greyhound jawans who might have swam to safety but were unable to contact their colleagues as the area could only be accessible through waterways.

The team was scheduled to return to Andhra Pradesh after the combing operation when the insurgents struck, the SP said.

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