Armed Maoists blew up portions of a bridge in the Kalimela police station area of Malkangiri district, south Odisha early on Saturday.

As per initial reports, a group of around 50 armed Maoists and their supporters reached the spot at around 2.30 a.m., and planted explosives on the bridge. They also left behind a handwritten poster at the spot which claimed that it was their mark of protest against continuing anti-Maoist operations in the district as well as the encounter in September 2012, in which around 13 Maoists were killed.

Speaking to The Hindu, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Akhileswar Singh said this bridge was on the Poteru river. Mr. Singh said that these acts of naxalite violence were being conducted by a group of over 100 Maoists from Chhattisgarh who have infiltrated the area. After major setbacks in the district this year through a series of arrests, surrenders and successful encounters, the Maoists are alleged to have deputed these ultras from outside to re-establish themselves.

In another development, a group of armed Maoists also raided the house of a Special Police Officer (SPO) at Sangel village under Kalimela police station on Friday night. The ultras are alleged to have looted the valuables from the house of the SPO.  

On Dec 25, armed Maoists had used explosives to destroy the block office building at Padia, Malkangiri. Malkangiri district, in December alone has seen kidnappings, killing of civilians and torching of passenger buses by Maoists. 

Meanwhile, security personnel including the Border Security Force (BSF) have been rushed to the areas where blasts occurred and SPO’s house to intensify combing operation to track down the ultras.