20-hour gunfight: Two Maoists killed, rebel camp destroyed (Lead)

July 26th, 2010 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, July 26 (IANS) Two Maoist guerrillas, including a woman, were killed and a camp destroyed after a 20-hour gunbattle between hundreds of security personnel and the rebels in a forested Jharkhand area, officials said Monday.
Around 900 security personnel comprising the Central Reserve Police Force and the Special Task Force (STF) were involved in the operation that started Sunday in the jungle areas bordering Khuti, Seraikela and Kharsawa districts and continued overnight. It ended early Monday with two rebels killed and the others managing to escape.

“Two Maoists, including one woman rebel, were killed, a camp was destroyed and gelatin sticks seized in the operation,” M.P. Natanael, CRPF inspector general, told IANS.

“Maoists took away the dead bodies.”

Police also suspect that Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) zonal commander Kunda Pahan is in the area, an official added.

On Sunday, police got information that Pahan, known as the Veerappan of Karnataka, was staying with 45 Maoists in Jaranburu hill in the area bordering Khuti and Seraikela districts. Security forces surrounded the area and the gunfight started.

Pahan, who carries a reward of Rs.5 lakh on his head, is accused of killing former minister and Janata Dal-United legislator Ramesh Singh Munda in June 2008, abducting and beheading special branch inspector Francis Induwar, hijacking an ICICI delivery van and looting Rs.5 crore and killing more than a dozen security personnel in the last three years.

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