Three policemen and a prisoner killed as militants launch bomb attack and open fire

Three policemen and a prisoner were killed when Maoists opened fire on a police van and police escort vehicle carrying their cadres and other prisoners to Giridih jail, 200 km from Ranchi, on Friday.

Senior officials put the number of constables injured in the attack at six, though eyewitnesses said 10 police personnel, including three women constables, were being treated for injuries in local hospitals.

“A group of around 24 Maoists, including women, on 12 motorcycles, a Bolero, and a Scorpio blocked the road at Udanabad Mod at around 4.30 p.m. and threw bombs and opened fire at the police vehicles.

Eight Maoists and 25 other prisoners who were being taken from the court to jail are absconding,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Shatrughan Razzak.

“We found the Bolero stuck in sand in a river on the Bihar-Jharkhand border near Bihar’s Jamui district while searching the area,” he added.

Jharkhand Director General of Police G.S. Rath confirmed that three policemen — ASI Prabhu Nath Singh, Constable Raj Kumar Das, driver Gagrai — lost their lives in the attack. “There were 32 prisoners in the vehicles. Eight Maoists fled towards Bihar, 25 are absconding, one prisoner was injured,” he said.

The Maoists prisoners were Baijanth Tiwari, Ramesh Mandal, Mithilesh Mandal, Nimchand Mahto, Sahedeo Soren Manjhi, Bipin Mandal, Chotka Marandi and Panstosh Hembram, police officials said. Ramesh Mandal is an accused in the killing of Jharkhand MLA Mahendra Singh in 2006, Sahedeo Soren Manjhi is the Bihar-Jharkhand special area committee member. Other accused include Maoists arrested for attacking under-construction police bhawan in Giridih earlier this year.

Among those injured, three are being treated at the Sadar Hospital in Giridih, five at a private hospital, and two grievously injured have been referred to hospitals outside Giridih. The district, which is located on Jharkhand’s border with Bihar, is known for its coal mines and mica deposits.

The attack took place in an industrial area about a kilometre from the Giridih jail.

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