Police gun down 15 Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh (Lead)

January 9th, 2009 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Jan 8 (IANS) At least 15 Maoist rebels were killed in a gunbattle with security forces late Thursday in a forested hamlet in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region, the police said claiming it as a major success.Armed cadres of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) were engaged in a gunbattle with police forces in Gollapalli, in Dantewada district, some 450 km south of capital Raipur.

Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general, special intelligence branch (SIB), here said the gunfight broke out when a search team of the state police and special police officers opened fire on dozens of insurgents armed with AK-47 and grenades.

“It’s a big success. The police are trying to capture several rebels alive who received bullet wounds in the gunbattle and are attempting to run away under the cover of darkness,” Rahul Sharma, district superintendent of police, Dantewada, told IANS.

At least three SPOs too sustained injuries. Police have recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the site.

Police estimate that roughly 10,000 rebels operate in the Bastar region, backed by another 35,000-40,000 cadres called Sangham members.

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