A joint force of the Jharkhand and Orissa police killed 12 Maoist rebels in the Saranda forest area in West Singhbhum district on Monday.
The forces, using two helicopters, smashed two training camps and a bunker and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition.
The offensive that began on September 25 also resulted in the death of three security personnel – one of them was from the elite CoBRA force, while the other two belonged to Jharkhand police.
State police chief Neyaz Ahmad, said, “The count (of killed Maoists) is set to rise, as we are still to penetrate the other areas of the jungle to recover more bodies.”
The operation followed a tip-off that 70 rebel cadres and a few commanders were
conducting a training camp in the Ratamati village in the
forest near Manoharpur in West Singhbhum district, around 150 km southwest of Ranchi.
“There were a few area commanders for training the cadres, mostly from West Bengal and Bihar,” Ahmad said.
But he said the police did not have any definite information on the presence of Koteswar Rao, alias Kishenji, a senior Politburo member of the CPI(Maoist), in the village
The Orrisa police, Ahmed said, cordoned off Rourkela, Sundargar and Keonjhar districts and seized arms after demolishing a training camp in the forest.
Since the security forces of Chhattisgarh, Orrisa and Jharkhand sealed the borders in the Saranda forest, which spans the three states, the rebels carried out three minor blasts in Manoharpur on Monday afternoon to divert the forces’ attention.
Naveen Kumar Singh, deputy inspector general in charge of West Singhbhum, said, “The operation would continue till there are signs of the presence of Naxalites in the area.”