Six members, including three women, of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with the elite Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh Police in Visakhapatnam district on today, while a fierce gunbattle took place between security forces and Maoists in neighbouring Odisha's Malkangiri district.
The dead included the district committee commander Sande Gangaiah, they said.
So far, five of the dead Maoists have been identified while the identity of a woman cadre is yet to be established, according to Visakhapatnam district Superintendent of Police B Krishna Rao.
He said the exchange of fire took place in the dense forest at Teegalametta under Mampa police station limits.
"We received information that about 30 Maoists gathered in the forest area to conduct a clandestine meeting. They were said to be causing trouble to the local tribals. We sent our forces for a combing operation in the forest area," Mr Krishna Rao said.
The Police Superintendent said the Maoists opened fire at the police from a hillock and "refused to surrender despite repeated requests".
"In self-defence, our men returned the fire and surged ahead. We then found the bodies of six Maoists in the forest.An AK-47, an SLR, a carbine, three .303 rifles and a tapancha (country pistol) were recovered from the spot," he added.
Mr Krishna Rao said they have information that some other Maoists suffered injuries in the exchange of fire. "If any such Maoists surrender to us, we will ensure better medicare for them. In the past we had admitted a woman Maoist, who was injured in a similar encounter, to hospital and extended treatment. So, they could come and surrender without any apprehensions," he said.
In Odisha's Malkangiri district, over 200 km from Visakhapatnam, a gunbattle broke out when the Special Operations Group of the Odisha police and members of the district voluntary force, acting on intelligence inputs, began an operation in the Kulabeda forest area.
"As a combing operation was underway near Kulabeda village, the Maoists began sudden unprovoked firing. The forces also retaliated after appealing to them to surrender," said Rishikesh Khilari, Superintendent of Police of Malkangiri.
However, the Maoists managed to flee taking advantage of the terrain, he said. Following the gunbattle, a large number of arms and ammunition, including an INSAS rifle, were recovered from the spot, the officer said.
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