A fierce gun battle was raging between a Chhattisgarh police contingent and Maoist guerrillas early on Sunday in a forested stretch of Bijapur district in which a rebel was killed and some explosives recovered, police said.

The encounter was on in a thickly forested hamlet of Basaguda in Bijapur district, some 500 km south of capital Raipur. The area is part of the state’s 40,000 sq km Bastar region that is home to thousands of leftist militants since the late 1980s.

“A fierce gun fight is on. We have encircled a group of Maoists in their stronghold but they are retaliating to the firing by police,” T.J. Longkumer, inspector general of police, Bastar range, told IANS.

He said that police have dragged out a bullet-riddled body of a Maoist from the battle site, adding that the exact casualty figure would be known once the fight ends.

Police have also recovered a loaded gun and some explosives in the form of tiffin bomb.