Nine Maoists, including four women, were killed in an encounter with the police in Rayagada district of south Orissa during the early hours of Sunday.

A fierce gun-battle took place in the remote hilly region of Bhamramali under the Kashipur police station limits. According to Deputy Inspector-General of Police, South-West Range, Soumendra Priyadarshi, police recovered nine bodies from the spot on Sunday morning. Weapons and explosives, including three .303 rifles, two pistols and one INSAS rifle were seized.

Combing intensified

Meanwhile, combing operation has been intensified in the area to track down the remaining rebels. It is suspected that some injured Maoists were dragged away by their ilk. Police had received a tip-off that a group of around 25 Maoists was camping at the remote spot. Personnel of the Orissa State Armed Police and District Voluntary Force raided the camp. According to sources, the encounter took place between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Unable to counter the firepower of the security forces, the Maoists fled the spot.

Another exchange of fire

An exchange of fire also took place between the Maoists and security forces comprising Central Reserve Police Force and Special Operations Group personnel near Maliguda village under Kotgarh police station limits in Kandhamal district early on Sunday, police said. One self-loading rifle, a Naxal kitbag and explosive material were seized from the spot, although the insurgents managed to escape.