Security forces in Chhattisgarh today gunned down two Naxals, each carrying a cash reward of Rs 8 lakh on their head, in an encounter in Narayanpur district, police said.
For the first time, the troopers in Chhattisgarh seized a foreign-made automatic sub-machine gun, besides two other firearms, they said.
The deaths of the two ultras, one of them a section commander, is viewed as a fresh setback to the Naxals in Chhattisgarh.
The gun-battle broke out between a patrolling team of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and ultras this morning in the Balebeda forest under Kurusnar police station limits, Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Jitendra Shukla told PTI.
Security forces had received information that the Naxals were camping in the forest to target troopers, who were providing security to the Narayanpur-Sonpur road construction work in the region, he said.
Acting on the inputs, four separate teams of the DRG launched an operation on July 2 towards Balebeda, Badapenda, Kangali, Parbeda and Irpanar villages to trace the ultras, the SP said.
Besides, three other joint teams of the DRG and the Special Task Force (STF) were also sent to the jungles of Karkabeda, Jadda and Gongla villages of the area, the official said.
When one of the patrolling teams of the DRG was cordoning off the forest pocket near Balebeda, located around 300 km from state capital Raipur, it came under heavy firing from a group of 25-30 armed cadres at around 6:15 AM, he said, adding that the security personnel promptly returned the fire.
After a brief exchange of fire, the ultras fled, he said, adding that the bodies of the two Naxals, belonging to Military Company no. 05, were found during the search operation post the encounter.
Security personnel also recovered an automatic sub-machine gun, a 12-bore gun, a muzzle-loading gun, a Maoist pitthu (bag) and other materials from the spot, Shukla said.
One of the slain ultras has been identified as Kishore, who was active as the section commander of Military Company no.05 of Maoists, he said, adding that the identity of another Naxal was yet to be ascertained.
"The recovered sub-machine gun is manufactured by Thompson. It is bearing the model number of year 1928. It is the first time that such type of weapon was recovered in Chhattisgarh," Shukla said.
As per the preliminary information, such guns are mainly manufactured in the US, he said, adding that an enquiry would be conducted to find out the source from where the Naxals sourced this particular weapon.
In a separate incident, also in Kurusnar area, a joint team of the DRG and the STF busted a Naxal camp after a brief encounter with the ultras, the SP said.
A couple of hours after the Balebeda forest encounter, a combine squad of the DRG and the Special Task Force (STF) were carrying out searching in jungles between Jadda and Markur villages to target a Naxal camp, he said.
On sensing the presence of the security personnel near their camp, a Maoist on sentry duty opened fire on the troopers who retaliated.
However, the ultras managed to escape in the deep forest, he said.
Security personnel recovered four cooker IEDs (improvised explosive devices), one air gun, pitthu bags, camp sheets, medical kits, medicines and daily use materials from the camp, the officer said.
"Blood stains found at the spot indicate that some Naxals were either killed or injured in the gunfight but their colleagues managed to drag inside the forest," he added.
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