Saswat Singhdeo

Malkangiri: Huge cache of arms and ammunition were seized by security personnel from a Maoist camp today after a fierce encounter with the red rebels in Tulasi Pahada area of Malkangiri district.

Acting on a tip-off about the Maoist camp, police conducted a search operation late last night.

The ultras who were camping in the Tulasi Pahada area suddenly opened fired at the police and the officials too back fired in retaliation following which the Maoists fled the spot.

Though no casualties were reported during the encounter, huge arms, ammunition and other Maoist items were seized from the camp.

Sources said using villagers as shields, the red rebels have managed to escape during the encounter.

Acting on a tip-off about presence of 40-50 Maoists at Dulduli hills, a team of District Voluntary Force (DVF) led by Malkangiri SP raided the camp. Top Maoist leader Sanju was also present at the camp, said sources.

Meanwhile, DGP RP Sharma said anti-Maoist operations will be intensified as rain has subsided. Two drones will be procured by the Odisha Police, of which one will keep vigil on Gurupriya bridge and movement of Maoists, informed Sharma.

“We have sent two units of SOG to help in the combing operation which is still on in the area. As the Chhattisgarh border is close to the area, the red rebels might have escaped to the neighbouring state. We have already alerted the Chhattisgarh police as well,” Sharma added.

On September 10, a BSF Jawan had caught hold of a Maoist and four of his associates after foiling a dacoity attempt at Ankadali in Koraput district.

According to police sources, the prime accused was identified to be a resident of Bichelpada village under Machhakhund police limits while his four associates were identified as Bhim Khara, Liu Pangi, Laichan Pangi and Malki Khara.