Nine Maoists were killed in an encounter with the Jharkhand police in the Luhur jungle of Latehar district in the early hours of Friday.

An hour-long gun battle took place in the remote hilly region of the jungle under the Barbadi police station.

Weapons and explosives, including five 315 rifles, two pistols, a self-loading rifle with cartridges, three mobile sets and an Insas (Indian small arms system) rifle were seized, official sources said.

“Nine bodies of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) were recovered after the encounter. One of those killed has been identified as zonal commander Basant Yadav and another as Devdut Yadav,” said Kuldeep Dwivedi, Superintendent of Police, Latehar.

The clash occurred during the joint combing operations in the area by the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to track down rebels.

It is suspected that some injured Maoists were dragged away by the rebels. The police had received a tip that around 25 Maoists were camping at the remote spot.

According to sources, the encounter took place between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Unable to counter the firepower of the security forces, the Maoists fled the spot.

No member of the police force was injured in the operation, said Mr. Dwivedi.

Some 171 suspected Maoists were killed last year, along with 713 civilians, in Naxal-linked violence. As many as 285 policemen died in 2010.