Raipur: At least 15 Maoists were gunned down on Monday in an encounter with security forces in a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, police said.
This was one of the biggest anti-Naxal operations in the history of Chhattisgarh, where 15 bodies of rebels were recovered in a single incident, state's Special Director General of Police (anti-Naxal operations) D M Awasthi told reporters here.
Two Naxals, including a woman who was injured in the gunbattle, were also arrested from the encounter site.
Based on intelligence inputs about locations of Naxal camps in south Sukma, two teams of security forces were sent into the forest from different directions last evening, Awasthi said.
The teams included personnel of the District Reserve Guard, Special Task Force, Central Reserve Police Force and its elite unit Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA).
One of the patrolling teams, comprising around 200 personnel of the STF and the DRG, spotted a Maoist camp on Monday morning at the forest in Nalkatong village, located around 500 km from here, following which it started encircling the place, Awasthi said.
A gunbattle took place between Naxals and the patrolling team for about half-an-hour, he said.
After guns fell silent, bodies of 15 Maoists and 16 weapons, including 315 bore and 12 bore guns, were recovered from the spot, Awasthi said.
Besides, an area committee member and an injured woman Naxal were arrested from the spot, he said.
The killed rebels were from three separate militia formations of Maoists active in the tri-junction forest of Konta, Golapalli and Bhejji areas in south Sukma, he said.
Militia platoon commander Vanjam Hunga was among the killed naxals, Awasthi said, adding that identities of the other 14 cadres were yet to be ascertained.
The injured Naxal was taken to a hospital.
Another patrolling team that had launched the operation from Bhejji area was still inside the forest and conducting its task, he said.
Intensive search operations were underway in the nearby forest areas, he said.
Awasthi said that bodies of 86 Maoists have been recovered in the state so far this year.
On July 19, eight Naxals, including six women, were killed in an encounter with security forces in the state's Bijapur district.