Nine CRPF men were killed on Tuesday after Maoists blasted their mine-protected vehicle in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. The casualties raised questions of a “tactical error” as troopers were attacked in less than four hours, sources told DNA.With last-minute changes in the travel plan after the first attack on Tuesday morning, a road opening party that provides security to the troop movement, could not be put in place, making the CRPF men soft targets, they said.Nearly 150 Red cadres struck around 7.30 am during a scheduled visit of the Central Reserve Police Force and local police led by the superintendent of police of Sukma from Kistaram to a new campsite at Potakpalli, deep inside the “core area” controlled by Maoist leader Hidma. “The team launched a counter-attack resulting in the Naxals fleeing. Communication intercepted also indicated that one of them was killed,” said an official.However, since the police team led by the SP had already reached, the decision was revised and the teams decided to go ahead with the original plan, sources privy to the details said.It was this team of the 212 Battalion of CRPF headed to the newly proposed campsite that was targeted in the second attack in which the nine men were killed around 12.15 pm, barely 300 metres from the spot of the earlier assault. Sources said the visit to the new campsite should have been cancelled after the first attack, particularly because there was intelligence about the presence of over 100 Maoists in the area. Last year, 12 troops were killed by the Maoists.Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the “deeply distressing”. “My heartfelt condolences to the families of those personnel who lost their lives in Sukma blast. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured jawans,” he tweeted.

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9 CRPF troops killed in Chhattisgarh