Six security personnel were killed and one was injured on Sunday when suspected Naxalites blew up their vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, ANI reported, quoting police.

The blast took place between Cholnar and Kirandul villages. A joint team of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force and the District Force was in the car, escorting a vehicle carrying material for road construction work, said Deputy Inspector General of Police (Dantewada) Ratan Lal Dangi said.

The attackers took away the weapons of the police personnel, Dangi told PTI.

Security forces are conducting a search operation, another senior police official, Deputy Inspector General of Anti-Naxal Operation Sunder Raj told ANI. Police suspect the blast was of high intensity, but details will be clear after investigation, he added.

Chief Minister Raman Singh promised a “befitting reply” to the Naxalites, ANI reported.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply anguished” by the incident, and said the Naxalites had targeted the jawans by planting a device instead of fighting them face-to-face. Rajnath Singh is on a two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.