At a time when the number of Maoists is reducing, guerrilla militants are increasingly preferring to use ‘booby traps’ to ensure maximum damage to the security forces without losing even a single comrade.
Booby trap, a mechanism often used during warfare, is a device or setup intended to kill or harm. It is triggered by the presence or actions of the victim and sometimes has some form of bait designed to draw the victim towards it.
The trap may be a needle, a stone, branch of a tree lying on road or anything that cannot be expected. It can also be triggered by vehicles driving along a road, as in the case of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). With just a touch to these traps, an IED explosion would happen and kill security personnel.
Intelligence units of different security wings, deployed in Maoist-hit regions, recently shared inputs regarding “frequent use of booby traps”. The input was circulated among the top brass as well as in paramilitary forces and state police units deployed in these regions. The input asks them to be very “careful” about these traps.
The input also mentions about the use of remote control IEDs.
“Remote control IEDs and booby traps are becoming a challenging threat for the agencies in the Left-Wing Extremism hit areas,” an officer, requesting anonymity, told IANS while citing the inputs shared by intelligence wings of various security forces.
The officer, privy to the developments, said that there have been many instances when such lethal booby traps were recovered from important places through which security forces have to move: particular roads and bridges or near renowned weekly markets in far-flung Maoist areas.
These booby traps have led to the death of various security forces and injuries to many troops in the past.
In Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) averted a similar blast on Thursday afternoon with the recovery of twin IEDs: 15 kgs and 5 kgs.
The personnel of the ITBP’s 40th Battalion unearthed and destroyed these IEDs on the spot soon after they detected them near Bakarkatta village in Nawagaon in Rajnandgaon district during a search operation.
“The IEDs were planted probably to target the security forces,” said the ITBP, adding “it is seen that in the recent times, many IED attacks have been the main modus operandi of the Naxals in Chhattisgarh”.
Apart from regular IEDs, the 95,000-personnel-strong Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), also deployed in some Maoist-affected areas apart from its mandated role to secure 3,488 km India-China border, said “the remote control IEDs and booby traps are becoming a challenging threat for agencies in the LWE hit areas”.
An officer in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), deployed in Maoist-hit states, told IANS on condition of anonymity that the frequent use of booby traps is part of Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) by Maoist extremists. The TCOC is a training and area domination tactics which the Maoists conduct during January to May.
“The number of Maoists is decreasing day by day due to multiple operations being conducted by security forces in Maoist-hit areas. To ensure ‘Zero damage’ to their operation and ‘no killing or injury’, the Maoists have now changed their attack tactics,” said the officer.
Now, the officer said, the Maoists are increasingly preferring “lone wolf” attacks as well as booby traps to ensure maximum damage and zero loss.
This year so far, all the security forces have jointly recovered over 50 such traps which mainly work to trigger a blast in the detonator that explodes the IED.
Another official said that ammonium nitrate is especially used by the Maoists in these IEDs while fixing the booby traps which are deactivated for long until they are touched by anybody.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)