Suspected Maoists fire at helicopter in Chhattisgarh

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Sukma, Jan 19: Naxalites on Friday fired at an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter, flying on a casualty evacuation mission in the dense Dantewada forests and injured one Chhattisgarh policeman onboard.

The incident took place around 1600 hours today when an MI-17 of the IAF, carrying seven personnel onboard, was on a casualty evacuation mission to retrieve some personnel of CAF from the forests of Sukma district.

"The helicopter is safe. It has landed in Temelwada and one of our radio operators has been hit," Director General of Police Ram Niwas told PTI.

The helicopter, which had 7 people on-board, was fired when it was descending to pick up an injured jawan of the CAF which was conducting a road-opening operation along with CRPF, a senior CRPF official said.

The CRPF has cordoned off the helicopter and rushed reinforcements to the area.

Security officials said Maoists could have fired on the flying machine from a nearby hilltop.

The helicopter had flown from Dantewada district headquarters and it had gone off the radar for sometime, they said.

Earlier today, Naxals killed a CAF security personnel and injured another during the road-opening task in the area.

Anti-Naxal forces have been using services of the IAF and those of the state government's aviation unit for support duties their pursuit against Maoists.

The helicopter services are used for casualty evacuation, providing relief supplies during an operation and also for air dropping of para-military and state police personnel.

PTI

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