RAIPUR: Two policemen were killed when Maoists ambushed a patrol party in Chhattisgarh’s Gariaband district, an area that had remained relatively peaceful for a long time.

Troops of CRPF’s 65 Battalion and Chhattisgarh police were out on a joint operation in the forests of Amamora in Mainpur village when the gunfight broke out around 2.25pm. They had reached a spot on the Odisha border, 150km from Raipur, when Maoists triggered an IED blast and opened a heavy barrage of gunfire.

Two policemen were critically injured in the blast and were evacuated to a hospital, where they died during treatment. Police said Maoists had laid a large number of IEDs in the ambush zone and triggered a few of them. When security forces retaliated, the rebels escaped into the forest. Reinforcements were sent by CRPF to the site of encounter.

Gariaband is a Maoist-affected district but hadn’t witnessed any attacks or deaths for quite some time. Earlier, Mainpur was part of Raipur district until Gariaband was carved out in 2012.