Maoists on Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the Bihar Government to release eight of their jailed colleagues by Wednesday failing which they would kill all the four securitymen kidnapped by them from Lakhisarai district.

Claiming responsibility for killing seven policemen during the encounter in the district on Sunday and kidnapping the security personnel, Avinash, a self-proclaimed spokesman of CPI(Maoist), told reporters in Munger over phone early this morning that they had communicated their demand to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s official residence in Patna.

“Eight of our commanders lodged in jails of Bihar should be released otherwise we will be compelled to kill the four policemen -- two sub-inspectors and two Bihar Military Police (BMP) jawans captured on Sunday,” Avinash said.

He said, “We have asked the government to release our colleagues who include Jaipaswan, Vijay Chourasia, Prem Bhuiyan, Pramod Barnwal by 4 pm tomorrow.”

Avinash claimed that their cadre provided first-aid to some of the BMP jawans who were critically wounded and were shifted by locals to hospital.

“We lost a commander Ratan Yadav in the operation but we succeeded in taking away 35 weapons,” he said and denied reports that some more casualties occurred on their side.

“Among those killed in the encounter were six Bihar Military Police personnel, Officer-in-charge of Kawaiya police outpost Bhulan Yadav and a policeman,” Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Singh had said after reaching the spot.

“Among those killed in the encounter were six Bihar Military Police personnel, Officer-in-Charge of Kawaiya police outpost Bhulan Yadav and a policeman,” Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar Singh had said after reaching the spot.

Singh had trekked to the hilly spot leading a team comprising BMP, State Auxiliary Force and CRPF and found the bodies.

The area had been cordoned off and operations continued to rescue the kidnapped policemen from Maoists and apprehend the ultras, Singh said.

Meanwhile, though senior police officials, including IG (Operation) K S Dwivedi and ADG (Headquarters) P K Thakur denied that the SP Singh was assaulted by BMP personnel who revolted after seeing the bodies of their colleagues lying in pools of blood in the hills, eyewitnesses confirmed the SP being heckled and reprimanded by them.

More than 15 persons have been taken into custody in Lakhisarai for interrogation, official sources said.