Staff Reporter

SOG personnel, on information, surround the area where a meeting is to be held

Five guns and a large amount of ammunition recovered

Many extremists manage to escape from the meeting spot

BERHAMPUR: A woman naxalite was killed in an ‘exchange of fire’ between Maoists and personnel of the Special Operation Group (SOG) inside jungles near Gudari in Rayagada district on Tuesday afternoon. The dead Maoist was identified as a hardcore cadre from Andhra Pradesh.

The SOG jawans also recovered five guns and a large amount of ammunition from the spot. The incident occurred around 3.15 pm. An SOG troupe involved in combing operation in the area had received intelligence report that the Maoists were going to hold a meeting inside the jungles near Gudari. The meeting was also to be attended by a large number of hardcore naxals from Andhra Pradesh.

During their combing operation inside the forest they entered into an exchange of fire with Maoists, when they came near the meeting site. Most of the naxals present at the meeting managed to escape, while their female compatriot from Andhra fell prey to SOG fire.

Other extremists escaped from the spot leaving behind guns and ammunition. Rayagada Superintendent of Police Ashis Kumar Singh rushed to the spot along with extra SOG jawans. Intense combing operation is on in the forest to track down the other naxals.

Security tightened

Meanwhile security has been tightened in naxal-prone districts in south Orissa following the jailbreak by Maoists in Dantewada in Chatisgarh. It is suspected that the naxal fugitives may try to enter Malkangiri district. It is said that combing operations have been intensified in remote jungle areas of the district following the jailbreak in Chatisgarh.

Extra troupes have been deployed at inter-state check posts at Motu, Padia and Chitrakonda. Malkangiri district is connected to naxal-prone areas of Chatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh on both sides. There are footways inside jungles to connect areas in Malkangiri district to remote areas in Chatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Security around all jails in south Orissa, where naxals or their supporters are lodged has been tightened. Search light arrangement has been made to keep watch on the jail from watch towers.

The recently-completed watch tower at Malkangiri jail has been put to use.