NEW DELHI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — At least eight policemen were killed and five others wounded after a vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a landmine blast in India’s eastern state of Odisha, police said Thursday.
Police suspect the landmine was laid and triggered by Naxals active in the area.
The blast took place Wednesday evening along a main road near Sunki in Koraput district, about 437 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha.
“Eight policemen belonging to Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) were killed and five others were wounded in a blast here that flung off the vehicle they were travelling in down the mountainous road,” a police official posted in Koraput said.
“The injured were immediately removed to hospital in Visakhapatanam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state and are undergoing treatment there.”
Odisha Police Chief K B Singh told media they suspect Naxal involvement in the attack.
According to officials four policemen died on the spot, while as three succumbed to their wounds in hospital. Body of driver was found Thursday morning close to the blast site. The police personnel were going to attend a training in another district.
Reports the police vehicle carrying 13 personnel was hit on Jagdalpur-Vishakhapatnam national highway and the landmine had been planted under a culvert. The impact of the blast pushed the police vehicle off the road into gorge and created a 7-feet deep crater on the highway.
Traffic on the highway was suspended in wake of the damage to the road and hundreds of vehicles including buses and trucks remained stranded on both sides until last reports came in.