Naxals set ablaze atleast 13 vehicles, including ten engaged in road construction work, in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, police said on Friday.
The incident took place on Thursday evening under Kistaram police station limits where construction of road is underway between Kistaram and Pallodi village, a senior police official told PTI.
However, security forces reached the spot on Friday morning and are sanitising the area suspecting that Naxals might have planted explosives to target security personnel after torching the vehicles in the area-considered as Maoist stronghold, he said.
In November, a camp of security forces was set up in Pallodi following which villagers had demanded to construct a road between Pallodi and Kistaram that passes through dense forest, he said.
In view of the demand, the road is being constructed on a stretch of 5 kms between the two villages, located around 500 kms away from the capital, he said.
On Thursday evening, when the labourers were returning along with vehicles to Kistaram after completing work for the day, large number of armed ultras stopped them. The cadres also stopped some auto-rickshaws used for ferrying villagers and workers in the area, he said.
As per eyewitnesses, ultras allegedly thrashed labourers and villagers and threatened them to stay away from the construction works.
Before fleeing from the spot, they set on fire seven tractors, three trucks and three auto-rickshaws, he said.
According to the officer, several other vehicles and machines, including tractors, trucks and mixture machines, were also parked there but no harm was caused to them.