Sharmili Mallick

Malkangiri: At least five Maoists, including two woman cadres were gunned down in an exchange of fire between security personnel and red rebels in a forest near in Papluru under Chitrakonda of Malkangiri district, informed ADG, Operation RP Koche today.

Three out of the five Maoists killed in the encounter have been identified as Kalimela Dalam area committee member Unga Sodhi, women members of Kalimela Dalam Mase Madhi & Seema Kendruka.

However, a leader of Kalimela Dalam Division of CPI (Maoist) Ranadeb managed to escape the spot.

According to reports, two teams of the Special Operation Group (SOG) were conducting a combing operation in Kalimela area of the district since Sunday when the security personnel spotted the presence of around 15 red rebels in the forest.

After finding the security personnel, the Maoists opened fire at them. The SOG jawans fired back in retaliation killing five ultras, reports added.

“Five cadres of Ranadeb’s group who held the ranks of Area Committee Member (ACM) were killed in the gunfight. The security personnel have also seized four weapons including two INSAS rifles, one SLR, one 303 rifle and a hand grenade from the spot,” Koche added.

Meanwhile, the exchange of fire between security personnel and Maoists is still on, sources said.

On the other hand, DGP RP Sharma termed the encounter by the SOG jawans as one of the best operations in the State.

“Five cadres were reportedly killed in the gun fight and a huge cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the spot. However, the identity of the deceased naxals will be known after a detailed investigation,” the DGP said.