Raipur, June 9: Using improvised rockets for the first time, heavily armed Naxalites attacked a camp of paramilitary ITBP in Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh in the wee hours today.
Officials said the attack was launched on the base of the 41st battalion of Indo-Tibetan Border Police in Ranapal village under Mardapal police station in the district after a posse of Maoists surrounded it from three sides.
Chhattisgarh Police downplayed the incident with Kondagaon Additional Superintendent of Police Santosh Singh said that the firing went on for about half-an-hour and that there was no loss of life or damage to property on the side of the paramilitary force.
The incident occurred around 1 AM and the ASP said a small group of Naxals hurled country-made pipe bombs and fired about 10-15 rounds at the camp. ITBP Deputy Inspector General (DIG) in Chhattisgarh S B Sharma too downplayed the attack, saying it was an attempt by Maoists to show their presence in the region where they are losing ground.
He said 'desi' pipe bombs were used in the attack by Naxals. However, an "incident report" prepared by the paramilitary said Naxalites mounted "heavy fire" on the camp and used "local made hand bombs" to launch the early morning attack.
The report said bombs recovered from the spot showed they were improvised by attaching "metal fins" to the pipes like those used in mortar shells that are launched from a distance. "It was a jittery fire by Naxals which was well replied to by the troops.
Our troops are well trained and always remain alert," DIG Sharma said. Muzzle-loading guns are suspected to have been used in the attack, the ASP said, adding the attack was part of Maoists' regular strategy to fire at security force camps from a distance and then run away in the dark.
The ITBP camp has been set up at Ranapal, located around 300 kms from here, for securing the site of an under-construction bridge on a rivulet.