Orissa continues hunt for Maoist rebels

February 20th, 2008 - 3:32 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (IANS) About 1,500 security personal Wednesday continued their combing operation in the forests of Orissa to nab Maoists who raided several police posts in the state and escaped with a large haul of weapons after killing 15 people last Friday. Personnel of the Orissa Armed Police, Central Reserve Police Force, Special Operations Group and Greyhound squad have been combing the forests spread over five districts, 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. But I can say that about 1,500 people are engaged in the combing operation,” he said.

The combing operation was launched Saturday after about 500 rebels had looted around 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.

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 dead bodies of the security personal 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 district.

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

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