Within weeks of a peaceful poll in partially Maoist-controlled south Chhattisgarh, a road opening party (ROP) of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was ambushed in Bijapur district by Maoists on Wednesday morning killing at least four constables.

The incident took place near Nukanpal, a village under Modakpal police station, 16 kilometres north of Bijapur district headquarters when the ROP was approaching a hamlet for a civic action programme, CRPF sources said. The ROP sanitizes a route before a bigger force enters a hostile area.

The constables killed in the ambush are identified as Digambar Bayan from Tinsukia in Assam, Dilip Kumar from Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh, Amitabh Mishra from Bankura district of West Bengal and Madanlal Aake of Chopan in Madhya Pradesh. They all belonged to 168 Battalion of CRPF. Three more persons have been injured and received initial medical care, sources told The Hindu.

Two INSAS, one AK 47 and few UVGL grenade launchers have been looted by the rebels, police sources said.