: Two Excise staff said they saw five armed men at Chittari under the Payyavur police station limits on Thursday evening.

According to police reports, the Excise officials in civilian dress had been to the area to deliver summons and collect details on

illicit distillation when they spotted the five people, including a woman. The suspected Maoists wore clothes similar to military uniform. They said one spoke fluent Malayalam while the others spoke Kannada.

The woman had features of a north-east inhabitant. Some reports revealed details about a Karnataka forest official who was found along with them. No details could be confirmed about his identity.

The three excise officers, Suresh and Ratnakaran belonging to the Sreekandapuram range and Vasudevan of the Peravoor Excise range also carried a notice from the Maoists, the details of which are yet to be known. They also had a paper on which was written ‘Comrade Varghese martyr day, February 18, CPI (ML) Maoists.’