Maoist guerrillas are shifting their bases from the forests of Chhattisgarh to neighbouring Orissa, officials said.
"Due to heavy police build up in Chhattisgarh, Maoists who had been hiding in the Bastar region since early 1980s are relocating their bases to Orissa's Malkangiri forest," a police official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Police officials posted in Dantewada and Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Bastar region said latest intelligence reports indicated that many Maoist leaders had fled to Malkangiri.
"The rebels' decision to look for a new forested haven seems to be to avoid surprise raids on their bases in the Abujhmad forest by security forces," an official said.
Maoists have set up training centres, a research and development (R&D) unit, and several explosives manufacturing units in Abujhmad forest, spread across about 4,000 sq km in Bastar.
The rebels run a de facto administration in Abujhmad forest, where many tribals reside, and government officials have never dared to enter the area in the past. However, in the last six months security forces backed by reinforcements in a 24-seater helicopter have stormed into the forest several times.
"Since the Maoists are running away to other areas, the police and the government feel it is the right time to carry out more attacks against the rebels," a source in the police headquarters said.
Chhattisgarh has not witnessed any major attack by Maoists in the past three months while the rebels killed 17 policemen in Malkangiri district of Orissa on Wednesday.