Thirty-one jawans were injured while a CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas went missing after the gunfight between security forces and Naxalites

New Delhi: A purported statement by Maoists on Tuesday claimed that they abducted a jawan during a recent gun battle with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district and sought nomination of some mediators for his release.

A two-page statement reportedly issued by Dandakarnya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the CPI (Maoists) said the abducted jawan “will be safe in their custody” and would be handed over to the police after mediation.

The statement is being looked into, a senior security officer and a CRPF commander said. Twenty-two personnel from various security forces like the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) of the Central Reserve Police Force, its Bastariya battalion and those from the District Reserve Guard and STF of the Chhattisgarh Police were killed in the ambush that took place along the Bijapur-Sukma border on Saturday.

Thirty-one jawans were injured while CoBRA commando Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, belonging to its 210th battalion, went missing after the gunfight and was stated to be taken hostage by the Naxalites. The security forces had claimed that they recovered the body of a female Maoist from the spot.

Signed by the spokesperson of the DSZC, Vikalp, the statement said the government should declare the name of some “mediators for the release of the captured jawan”. The statement claimed that the ultras looted 14 weapons, over 2,000 bullets and some other communication gadgets of the troops who were killed.

The statement added that four Naxals were killed in this ambush and added that they could not pick one body.

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