17 Maoist rebels killed in Chhattisgarh jungle

March 18th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by admin  


Raipur, March 18 (IANS) At least 17 Maoist rebels were killed Tuesday in a gun battle with security forces in a forested region of southern Chhattisgarh.
In a joint operation, the Chhattisgarh police and Andhra Pradesh’s elite Greyhounds forces surrounded a rebel hideout in Bijapur district’s Pamer police station area, close to the Andhra Pradesh border, and opened fire.

“Rebels, about 35 in number, found it tough to handle the flash attack and retaliated with firing to sneak into nearby forests, but we gunned down 17 of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) senior cadres,” district superintendent of police Ankit Garg told IANS by phone.

He said 14 bodies lying in a pool of blood with 12 weapons, including AK-47s, were recovered from the site of the gun battle, some 520 km south of capital Raipur, while three bodies were recovered during searches later.

For about three decades, rebels have been running a parallel government in about 40,000 sq km area of Chhattisgarh’s southern Bastar region, including Bijapur and Dantewada districts.

Police officials say that about 4,000 hardcore Maoists carrying AK-47, LMG and SLR are active in the southern tip of the state. They are backed by some 35,000-40,000 second-rank Maoists with guns, bows and arrows and sharp-edged weapons.

In 2007, 436 people, including 200 policemen, died in Maoist violence while the toll was 458 in 2006. The majority of deaths were reported from Bijapur and neighbouring Dantewada districts.

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