PATNA: Four Maoists, including a self-styled zonal commander, were killed in a fierce gunbattle with security forces in Banskatwa forest area in Bihar’s Gaya district on Wednesday.
This is the first big achievement of CRPF’s elite CoBRA unit since it lost 10 soldiers in an ambush by the Maoists in neighbouring Aurangabad district on July 10, 2016.
CRPF officials said this was the second encounter between Maoists and security forces within two weeks in the state.
On February 21, self-styled sub-zonal commander of CPI (Maoist) Mantu Khaira, who carried a reward of Rs 50,000, was killed by the special task force (STF) of Bihar police in Banka district.
The Wednesday’s operation was conducted by a small team of CoBRA following a tip-off from the state’s inspector general (operations) about a possible Maoist attack in Gurpa police station area in Gaya district, 5 km from Jharkhand border.
Acting on the information, a CoBRA team, comprising 60 personnel, was mobilised in the interiors of Banskatwa, 200 km from state capital Patna. As security personnel cordoned off the forests in the hilly axis between Banskatwa and Thamkola villages, a group of armed insurgents fired indiscriminately, triggering a gunbattle, said IG (operations) Kundan Krishnan.
“The encounter lasted about an hour. On finding the security personnel zeroing-in on them, the Maoists fled,” he said, adding that there was no report of injury to securitymen.
Bodies of the Maoists, along with four regular weapons, including two Insas rifles, SLR and AK-47, were later recovered from the encounter site. Additional reinforcements have been sent to the area to assist the CoBRA in scouring the area for the remaining Maoists.
CRPF officials said two of the killed Maoists had been identified as Anil alias Deepak and Rajesh Ravidas. Deepak was the zonal commander of Magadh area committee action team, while Das was sub-zonal commander, east Magadh sub-zone. Both are residents of Gaya.