Police say they were suspected to be members of the CPI (Maoist)’s “Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee”

Two suspected Maoists were killed during an exchange of fire inside the jungle under the Pottangi police station area of Koraput district in south Odisha on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Hindu, Koraput Superintendent of Police (SP) Awinash Kumar said as per initial reports the uniform of the slain men hinted that they were Maoist commanders. Their identity was being ascertained. But they were suspected to be members of Koraput-Srikakulam division under the “Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee” (AOBSZC) of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

The security personnel have also seized two carbines, two magazines of fire arms and a grenade from the encounter spot.

The encounter occurred during an anti-Maoist operation by the District Voluntary Force (DVF) of Koraput police, which had been initiated following intelligence reports that a group of hardcore Maoists were camping in the jungle under Pottangi police station bordering Andhra Pradesh.

The DVF personnel tracked down this group of Maoists near Golluru inside the jungle, said the SP. When the ultras opened fire, it was retaliated by the security personnel, leading to the death of the two. Others in the camp managed to escape. Security personnel have intensified search operations in the area with sealing of inter-State border to nab the escaped persons.

On August 27, 2013, four personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) were killed and three others were injured in a landmine blast by Maoists on NH26 in Pottangi police station area. After the incident, security personnel have kept extra vigil in this region.