Phulbani: A Maoist was gunned down during an exchange of fire with the security forces in a dense forest in Kandhamal district, a day after four of them were shot dead in an encounter in the same area, a senior police officer said Tuesday.
The exchange of fire took place when a team, comprising personnel of the Special Operations Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF), launched a combing operation in the forest in Tumudibandha area Monday night, Kandhamal Superintendent of Police Prateek Singh told reporters.
As the security personnel approached a hideout where 15-20 Maoists were present, the ultras opened fire and a gun battle ensued, Singh said, adding that the Maoists fled from the scene and disappeared deep into the forest taking advantage of darkness.
During the search operation carried out by the forces in the area in the aftermath of the gunbattle, the bullet-riddled body of a Maoist was found, he said.
Two country-made guns, some ammunition, Maoist uniforms, bags and literature were found at the site.
Efforts are on to identify the dead, suspected to be a member of the Bansadhara-Nagavali-Ghumusar (BNG) division of the banned CPI (Maoist).
The combing operation has been intensified by the security forces in the area after the encounter as part of efforts to track the fleeing Maoists.
Sunday, four Maoists, including two women cadres, were gunned by the security forces during an exchange of fire in the same forest.
Singh said three of the four slain Maoists have so far been identified.
While one of them was a state committee member of BNG division, having a bounty of Rs 20 lakh, two others including a woman carried Rs 4 lakh rewards each. Another slain woman is yet to be identified.
Last week, a Maoist camp was busted and explosives were seized by security forces in Phiringia area of Kandhamal.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spoke to Singh over telephone and appreciated his efforts and his team in containing Maoist activities in the district.
Patnaik assured him all support in this regard, an official of the chief minister’s Office said.