Following an exchange of fire between troops and Naxals in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, at least 22 security personnel were killed and 31 were seriously injured. According to the Chhattisgarh Police, at least 12 Maoists were killed and 16 were wounded in the gun fight that followed the ambush. In the deadliest Naxal assault in four years, one soldier is still suspected to be missing.
The operation was conducted in response to intelligence reports that Maoists from PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) Battalion No. 1 led by Hidma, a Naxal leader who has been involved in several deadly attacks on security forces, is present. During the encounter, which lasted several hours, the Naxals used low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and light machine guns (LMGs). According to an official, the security forces took shelter behind tall trees and fired before they were out of bullets.