BERHAMPUR/BHAWANIPATNA: An exchange of fire took place between security personnel and Maoists in Madagurha forest under Tumudibandha police limits in Kandhamal district on Sunday evening.
During patrolling in the forest, Maoists opened fire at the Special Operation Group (SOG) and jawans of District Voluntary Force (DVF) to which, the latter retaliated. The exchange of fire continued for over an hour after which, Maoists escaped into the forest in the cover of darkness. “There has been no casualty or injury on the security personnel side,” said Kandhamal SP, Kanwar Vishal Singh, adding that details about the encounter will be known on Monday.
Sources added that Maoists from neighbouring Chhattisgarh are using the forest route in Kandhamal to reach Kalahandi for the last few months, particularly after the arrest of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
Earlier on Friday, an exchange of fire had taken place between Maoists and SOG jawans in the forest under Pongabaju reserve forest under M Rampur police limits, located in an area bordering Kalahandi and Kandhamal district. At least eight Maoist camps were destroyed in the area and the security forces seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition.
Informing this to mediapersons on Sunday, Kalahandi SP Brijesh Rai said police had received information that 50 Maoist cadres led by CPI (Maoist) Central Committee member, Jampanna, were camping in the forest. Jampanna has a reward of `25 lakh on his head. Police subsequently launched a search operation and while they were nearing the Maoist camp, the ultras opened fire at the security personnel.
The jawans retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for over 30 minutes on Friday.
Police fired around 450 rounds and unable to face the attack, Maoists escaped into the forest. “Search operation led police to eight Maoist camps which were subsequently damaged. Arms, empty cartridges, medicines, shoes, clothes, batteries, printed leaflets and Maoist literature were seized from the camps,” the SP added.