Maoists gunned down a Special Police Officer (SPO) and injured another in Odisha’s Malkangiri district where ‘Martyrs’ Week’ is being observed by the rebels.

A group of ultras attacked two SPOs when they were patrolling in a local market at Padia, about 70 km from Malkangiri, and fired at them, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Singh said.

The two police personnel returned fire, but SPO Ajit Sodi (22) was killed while his colleague Lachma Madkami was critically injured in the attack, he said.

The injured was admitted to hospital.

A combing operation has been launched to track down the culprits.

Meanwhile, on the second day of ‘Martyrs’ Week’, movement of vehicles was disrupted with the termination of long and short-distance passenger buses for security reasons in districts like Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal, official sources said.

Trucks and other private vehicles also remained off the road. Shops and business establishments downed shutters in several interior areas, while urban centres witnessed usual commercial activities.