20 Maoists, three policemen killed in Orissa gun battleFebruary 17th, 2008 - 8:44 pm ICT by admin
Bhubaneswar, Feb 17 (IANS) At least three security men and 20 Maoist guerrillas were killed in a fierce gun battle in the forests of Orissa’s Ganjam district Sunday, a day after the rebels raided several police posts in the state and escaped with hundreds of guns after killing 14 constables. “The security personnel have killed at least 20 Maoists,” Tushar Kanti Mishra, secretary in the state home department, told reporters here.
Three security personnel were also killed in the gun battle in Gosna hill in Ganjam, Misra said.
Earlier, security forces intensified combing operations after the Maoists’ overnight attack in the district of Nayagarh, the most daring strike so far this year in the state.
The police are combing jungles in the district of Nayagarh and neighbouring Ganjam and Boudh, where the Maoists are suspected to have fled after looting police weapons.
According to Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda, cops had spotted Maoists at Gosna hill, some 300 km in the southern district of Ganjam.
According to a senior official of the home department, at least 600 policemen were combing the area. He said the government would deploy at least 200 Greyhound police, the elite anti-Maoist special police force of Andhra Pradesh - in the region.
Maoist rebels shot dead 14 policemen in multiple attacks on police stations and a government armoury in Nayagarh district Friday night and early Saturday, and escaped with hundreds of police rifles and boxes of ammunition.
A home department official said the attack is suspected to be the handiwork of Maoist leader Sabysachi Panda because he hails from Nayagarh district.
Meanwhile, an alert has been sounded in neighbouring Jharkhand in the wake of the Maoist attack in Orissa.
Jharkhand police chief V.D. Ram has asked his forces in Maoist-affected areas to beef up security at police stations, especially where weapons are kept.
Jharkhand has also sealed its border with Orissa so that the rebels do not sneak into the state.
Seven Maoist rebels were killed in Jamshedpur three days ago. Of them, five were killed by the village defence committee members.
“We have got information that the Maoist rebels are strengthening their positions in Saranda and Parasnath jungles. Extra vigil is being kept on the jungle and bordering areas,” a police official said.
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