Wednesday, July 02, 2008

39 Greyhound personnel missing after Naxals fire on launch

Malkangiri (Orissa), June 29 (PTI) Thirty-nine personnel of the elite anti-naxal force belonging to Andhra Pradesh and Orissa were feared drowned today when a launch carrying them was fired on by Maoists from a hilltop in Malkangiri district today.Orissa DGP Gopal Nanda told PTI that the boat came under Maoist fire near Alampetta village when the Greyhound force was sailing in a launch to Chirakonda across the Balimela reservoir on the border with Andhra Pradesh for a joint operation against the ultras.While 25 personnel, including a launch helper, could swim ashore, the whereabouts of 39 others were not known even as a massive search operation was mounted in the reservoir, Nanda said.Among the 64, there were two Orissa police constables and two -- the launch driver and helper -- were from the Irrigation department, Malkangiri SP S K Gajbhiye said.He said there was was an exchange of fire between the ultras and the security personnel for some time, with the rebels targetting the launch driver.According to DIG (Operation) Arun Sarangi, 25 officers swam to the shore of whom 10 were airlifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment."Most of the 25 persons who returned swam to safety sustained bullet injuries," he said adding some others could have swum towards the Andhra Pradesh side adjacent to Orissa.The Andhra Pradesh government has sent another helicopter for search operations being conducted by local divers, the fire brigade and the police. PTI

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