VISAKHAPATNAM: Two tribals were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists near Chintalaveedhi in Jamiguda panchayat of Pedabayalu mandal, located in the interior part of the Andhra-Odisha border region of Visakha Agency on Monday.
The deceased were identified as Mohana Rao and Ajay Kumar of Chintalaveedhi, both shepherds. The incident occurred when the two tribals were returning along with cattle.
Superintendent of Police (SP) B Krishna Rao said the landmines were planted targeting the security forces. As per the initial report, more than one landmine might have exploded and could have been a pressure activated landmine also, he added.
As combing operation and surveillance have been enhanced due to the ongoing Martyrs' Week, the left wing extremists are targeting security forces with landmines.
The SP said Maoists were losing grip in the Agency and the incident showed that they were not taking local tribals into confidence as they believe that people were now either neutral or with the government. He said due to lack of knowledge, the two tribals fell victims. He said combing in Agency area will go on as a regular exercise.
He said that after the police organised outreach programmes in the Agency, tribals were now staying away from Maoists and supporting the government and police. He added that the police would ensure payment of compensation to the victims as per the protocol.
Three incidents of exchange of fire between police and Maoists took place in 10 days ahead of the Maoist Martyrs' Week. The police stepped up vigil and surveillance to check any untoward incidents in Agency areas during the week.