PATNA:Six Maoist rebels were gunned down in a fierce encounter with the Cobra commandos of the CRPF and the Jharkhand police in the state’s western district of Latehar on Wednesday morning.
CRPF inspector-general Sanjay Lathkar confirmed the deaths in an encounter that took place in a remote location on the forested banks of the Koel river in area under the jurisdiction of the Chhipadohar police station.
Six bodies of the rebels in black uniform were recovered. The bodies are yet to be identified, but police officials said the uniforms worn by the rebels and the weapons found with them indicate they were Maoists of senior rank.
“An INSAS rifle, an SLR, a carbine and three other firearms have been recovered from the encounter site. The other members of the Maoist squad fled the spot during the gunbattle,” said Latehar superintendent of police Anup Birthire.
No casualties suffered by the security personnel, he added. A joint patrol of the CRPF and Jharkhand police chanced upon about 25 Maoist rebels who had gathered on the riverbank, said a police officer.
“Over a dozen Maoists received injuries in this gun battle and fled. It will not be long before they are captured,” he added.
“A search operation is on to arrest the Maoists who fled. This encounter is a major success for the security forces,” said SP Anup Birthire. The riverbank area, he said, had long been a safe haven for Maoists and criminals. There would now be increased patrolling of the area by security forces, he added.
Jharkhand director-general of police T K Pandey and inspector-general (operations) M S Bhatia are expected to visit Latehar later on Wednesday to take stock of the situation, said police sources.