A day after the Maoists killed four BSF jawans in an ambush at Sunki valley on NH 26, combing has been intensified on border areas of both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. There have been intelligence reports of Maoists sneaking into the forest areas following a fierce encounter between the security forces and the rebels on Tuesday following a landmine blast.
Five persons from Pottangi have been detained for questioning.
The Maoists blasted the landmine planted under a culvert which blew up the BSF vehicle. Four jawans died on the spot. Two others, who were critically injured, were rushed to Visakhapatnam. Sources said over 100 Maoists belonging to Koraput-Srikakulam dalam from Narayanpatna, Bandhugan, Ichapuram, Salur and Pottangi were involved in the ambush at Sunki valley.
Eighteen BSF jawans were on their way to Visakhapatnam in three vehicles when the incident took place.
While the first vehicle crossed the mined culvert, the second was fired upon by Maoists, who were in large numbers.
As the third vehicle with six jawans was negotiating the stretch, the Maoists detonated the landmine.
Police are questioning the villagers of the area to get clues on the Maoist attack. Koraput DIG S D Singh and SP Aswini Kumar, who are monitoring the combing operation, hoped that police would get a major breakthrough soon. "Combing is on in full swing and it would continue till we get a lead," the DIG said.
The Visakhapatanam-Raipur NH, which was cut off after the landmine blast at Sarkaria village, was reopened early on Wednesday. Due to the blast, hundreds of vehicles were stranded at different places.