Eight Maoists, including four women, were killed by security forces in an encounter in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada this morning. The encounter began around 5 am near Timinar and Pusnar villages along the border of Bijapur and Dantewada districts when a joint team of District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF) were searching the area.
While the security men were sifting through the forest area, around 450 km from the state capital Raipur, an exchange of fire broke out, P Sundar Raj, Deputy Inspector General of Police, anti-Maoist operations said.
"We will continue such operations to make this region Maoist-free," Mr P Sundar Raj said.
The forces had a specific tip-off and the encounter went on for over two hours. Many Maoists managed to escape, but search operations are on, he said.
"After guns fell silent, bodies of seven Maoists, including three women, were recovered from the spot," he said.
Later, the body of another woman Maoists was found, he said.
A cache of firearms, including two Insas rifles, was recovered from the encounter site.
Six Maoists have also been arrested in Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Narayanpur district, police said. Three "tiffin" bombs (made of explosives packed in steel food containers) and 100 metres of electric wire were seized from their possession, district Superintendent of Police Jitendra Shukla said.
They admitted to involvement in attacks on police and torching of construction vehicles in Orchha area, Mr Shukla said.
Zarina, a woman Maoists and member of the Aundhi-Mohla joint area committee of Maoists, was killed in an encounter in Rajnandgaon. She had a reward of Rs 5 lakh on her head.
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