Cuttack/Malkangiri/ Visakhapatnam: Total 24 Maoists including eight woman were killed and one jawan of Greyhounds martyred during a joint operation of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh police in Bejjangi forest in between Ramgurha and Panasaputa in the cut-off areas of Malkangiri district in the wee hours on Monday.
Out of the two personnel of Greyhounds, an elite anti-Naxal force of Andhra Pradesh, who were injured and airlifted to the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam for treatment, Md Abu Bakar succumbed to his injuries.
Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra confirmed the death of 24 Maoists during the joint operation.
Top Maoist cadre Ramakrishna alias RK, who was present at the Maoist camp, about 10 km into Malkangiri where at least 50-60 naxals had gathered for a meeting managed to escape.
Briefing newsmen about the joint operation, Odisha DGP KB Singh hardcore Maoists Gajarla Ravi alias Uday carrying a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, Chalapati and Ganesh are among 18 naxals killed during the hour-long joint operation of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh in the cut-off area of Malkangiri district.
The Andhra Pradesh Police personnel took a lead with participation from the Greyhounds, a special force of the neighbouring state, in the joint operation with the Odisha Police as the spot was in the cut-off area of Malkangiri.
Singh further stated, "The Odisha Police team approached the spot from the Andhra Pradesh side as it would have been difficult for us to reach the cut-off area from the Odisha side."
Search operations are on in the area and more bodies of Maoists are likely to be recovered.
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The Odisha DGP added ten 303 rifles, two SLRs and four AK-47 guns and some other Maoist kitbags were seized from the spot.
Elaborating on the operation, Singh said, "Some days back we had information that members of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zone Committee have gathered in the cut-off areas under Chitrokonda police limits. We sent a team to the area and verified the information. The Malkangiri SP was also aware about the tip-off."