13 Maoists killed in shootout with police
Police sources said nearly 20 guns, including AK-47 assault rifles, besides a large number of arms and ammunition had been seized from the spot.
The fierce encounter took place inside the deep forests under the Padia block of the tribal-dominated Odisha district, bordering Chhattisgarh.
A majority of the killed ultras are suspected to be from the neighbouring Maoist-hit state.
The Director General of Police Prakash Mishra, said the incident took place when the jawans of the Special Operation Group (SOG) and the District Volunteer Force (DVF) were conducting a search and combing operation in the area on the basis of an intelligence report.
“We had specific intelligence inputs that a group of Maoists had entered our territory from neighbouring Chhattisgarh. Accordingly, a combing operation had been launched by SOG and DVF jawans. There was an exchange of fire which resulted in the killing of the armed Maoists. A Large number of arms and ammunition have been recovered from the spot. A detailed report is awaited. There has been no casualty or injury from our side,” Mishra said.
The top cop was accompanied by several senior state police officials including Director (intelligence) P S Kutte, IG (operations) Soumendra Priyadarshi and Additional Director-General Abhay.
Sources said the jawans ambushed the Maoists when nearly 40 of them were holding a camp inside the jungle on the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border. While 13 were killed, the rest managed to escape from the spot.
Mishra confirmed that some of the Maoists killed in the gun battle were involved in the famous Darbha valley massacre in Chhattisgarh in May this year.
In the attack, the entire top Congress leadership of the state were wiped out by Maoists. “Some of these Maoists were involved in the Darbha valley incident,” Mishra said.
The top cop warned the Maoists from neighbouring states not to enter Odisha territory.
“We have been trying to insulate our territory from Maoists operating in neighboring states. Friday night’s incident will send a right message to them that they should not venture across the Odisha border,” the DG said.