Central forces join hunt for Maoists in Orissa

February 20th, 2008 - 9:16 pm ICT by admin  


Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (IANS) At least four companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), comprising about 400 personnel, Wednesday joined security forces in Orissa to nab Maoists who raided several police posts and escaped with a large haul of weapons after killing 15 people last Friday. “On my request the central government has sent four companies of CRPF jawans (troopers). They have arrived and have been inducted into the operation,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a statement in the state legislative assembly.

Search parties have detected eight vehicles used by Maoists in the Nayagarh incident in a half-burnt condition at the site of the encounter in Gosama forest in Ganjam district, he said.

Police dogs have been pressed into service and search operations are on in full swing to intercept the retreating Maoists in the jungles of Ganjam, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Nayagarh districts, the chief minister said.

Two Indian Air Force helicopters are being utilised for aerial reconnaissance of probable hideouts and escape route of the Maoists, he added. Some suspects are being interrogated.

The combing operation was launched Saturday after about 500 rebels looted some 1,000 rifles and over 100,000 bullets during a raid on an armoury and several police posts in Nayagarh district, about 85 km from here. At least 14 policemen and one civilian were killed in the ensuing gunfight.

About 1,500 security personnel, including personnel of the Orissa Armed Police, CRPF, Special Operations Group and Greyhound squad are continuing their combing operation, Additional Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj told IANS.

“I cannot say how many people have been killed or the number of dead bodies recovered,” he said.

On Sunday, at least three security personnel and 20 Maoist guerrillas were killed in a fierce gun battle in the forests of Orissa’s Ganjam district.

While the bodies of the security personnel have been recovered, the state government said the bodies of the rebels might have been taken away by their comrades.

During their combing operations in the past four days, security forces have recovered a large cache of rifles and ammunition from forests in Ganjam.

“We have recovered as many as 115 rifles and about half-a-truckload of ammunition from forest areas during combing operations,” said Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda.

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