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13 Naxalites, six CRPF men killed

Raipur, February 18
At least 19 persons, including six CRPF personnel, were killed in a fierce gunbattle between security forces and Maoists in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, about 550 km from here this afternoon.

The gunbattle took place in Mirtur area of the district between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in which at least 13 Maoists were killed, a senior CRPF official said here. Security personnel, who are combing the area, have recovered 11 bodies of the ultras so far, the official said adding that the CRPF lost six of its personnel in the operation.

A number of Naxals are believed to be injured in the gunbattle and the CRPF is expecting to recover more bodies of the ultras, he said.

Among the CRPF victims, he said, three are constables while the others are head constables.

According to government estimates, Maoists are active in 15 of the 19 districts in Chhattisgarh. Thirteen battalions of CRPF have been deployed for anti-Naxal operation with the operational command under the state Chief Minister. Union home minister Shivraj Patil has recently said the Centre would give five more battalions of paramilitary forces to the state to combat Naxals. PTI

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