Raipur: Troopers of the para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had a narrow escape on Wednesday in a jungle pocket of Chhattisgarh's insurgency-riddled Bijapur district as Maoists ambushed a search party, police said.

Bullets were fired, but no casualty was reported in the hour-long gunbattle, officials at the police headquarters here said. Police said the troopers sent the insurgents rushing for cover by opening fire in retaliation. A powerful 10-kg Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was later recovered from the spot.

A team of troopers of CRPF 199th battalion reportedly left the district headquarters - Bijapur - for search operations in nearby areas. While returning, as the team was between Naimed and Peddakodepal, Maoist insurgents who were hiding in the bushes exploded a mine and also started intense firing.

The para-military troopers also took position immediately, and returned fire. The gun-battle lasted about an hour, and insurgents withdrew into the cover of the dense forests. Police later searched the spot where the gun-battle occurred, to find a 10-kg mine, 200 metre wire, and two detonators. The bomb disposal squad later defused the IED recovered from the spot, averting what might have been a tragic explosion.

(Agencies)

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