Left Wing Extremists (LWEs) blasted an OSAP vehicle with a mine near Mungarbhoomi on Sunki ghat in Koraput region, killing three OSAP personnel and injuring five. The injured were immediately shifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment.
Twelve assistant drivers and the driver were proceeding on their way to the Police Training College (PTC), Angul when the incident took place on February 1 evening. Blasted by the mines, the vehicle toppled and rolled down the hill roads. Security personnel in the van belonged to the Third Battalion of OSAP and the district police.
Such was the impact of the blast that the vehicle was literally thrown off killing and injuring its passengers. While four personnel were killed on-the spot, three more succumbed in the Salur Hospital.
Full state honours were given to the martyrs at Koraput parade ground on February 2. The event was attended by DIG, South Western Range S Shyni and a host police personnel
Immediately, police teams from Srikakulam and Koraput were deployed to the region. The landmine blast virtually paralysed traffic on the National Highway -26 linking Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Hundreds of buses, trucks and other vehicles lined up on both sides of the border.
Expressing his grief and anguish over the incident, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that the attack was an act of cowardice.
While this was so, intelligence sources said that the attack could be the handwork of CPI (Maoist). Its activists are active along the AP-Odisha borders. It was felt that the incident could be in retaliation to the encounter of Maoists by Andhra Pradesh Greyhounds and Odisha Police. At least 30 Maoists were gunned down then.