Andhra Pradesh

Six Maoists killed in exchange of fire in Koyyuru

Weapons and ammunition recovered at the exchange of fire site, in Koyyuru mandal on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Six members of the banned CPI (Maoist) were killed in an alleged exchange of fire on Wednesday that took place near Theegalametta village under Mampa police station limits in Koyyuru mandal in the interior parts of Visakhapatnam Agency.

Among the dead include two Divisional Committee Members (DCM) and one Area Committee Member (ACM) rank Maoist and among them three were women. The dead were identified as Ranadev alias Arjun (DCM), Sande Gangiah alias Ashok (DCM), Santu Nachika (ACM), Lalitha and Paike. The body of one more woman cadre is yet to be identified.

The security forces also seized a huge cache of weapons, including one AK-47 rifle, two carbines, two modified 303 Lee Enfield rifles, one country-made tapancha, some ammunition, explosive materials, extremist literature and kit bags.

According to Superintendent of Police B. Krishna Rao, the exchange of fire took place when a team from the elite anti-naxal forc, Greyhounds, was on a combing operation in the forested area of Theegalametta. “On seeing our men, the Maoists opened fire and we retaliated, in which six of them were killed,” he said.

Maoists camping

It is learnt that around 20 to 25 Maoists were camping at the site and the exchange of fire lasted a couple of hours from around 10 a.m.

Sateesh Kumar, OSD of Narsipatnam, who coordinated the operation, confirmed that there was no casualty on the security forces’ side.

Presence of major leaders

It is learnt that some senior leaders such as secretary of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee Gajarla Ravi alias Uday, Aruna and Kakuri Pandana alias Jagan, might have been present.

Sources say that one of the slain Maoist was the personal bodyguard of Uday.

This is being termed as the biggest strike against the LWE, post the Ramaguda operation by the Greyhounds in which over 30 Maoists, including many senior leaders such as Bakuri Venkataramana alias Ganesh was killed, in October 2016.

Elusive Ranadev

The Greyhounds finally seem to have gotten the better of Ranadev, who has been eluding the security forces for the last couple of years.

Hailing from Malkangiri of Odisha, Ranadev is said to be a fierce fighter and well trained in guerilla warfare. He was earlier heading the Kalimela dalam on the Odisha side of AOB and in recent times looking after the operations in Boipariguda, north of Sileru.

He had escaped by the skin of his teeth, when the Greyhounds and the CRPF had almost got him in the exchange of fire in Madigamallu-Kondajartha forest area in Gummarevula Panchayat in GK Veedhi mandal, in September 2019. Five Maoists were killed in that incident.

Sources say that even during Wednesday’s incident, it was he who reportedly held back the Greyhounds team with his AK 47, which allowed the others to escape, including the presumed senior leaders, under the cover of fire.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 3:11:59 PM |

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