Nine persons, including three women and a child, were killed on Tuesday when Maoists fired at them and set their vehicle on fire near the Semra forests, about 12 km from the Gumla town.
Sub-divisional police officer Alban Tigga said another woman, Renu Devi, managed to escape the attack with her child after suffering a bullet injury.
The Maoists had prior information that some members of the Shanti Sena – a local resistance force formed in 2002 to combat Maoist activities – including its leader Bhado Singh had set out in a vehicle for Gumla town from the district’s Gumra village.
The ultras attacked the vehicle near the forests under Palkot police station. Singh and his associates retaliated the attack but they exhausted their ammunition and were numerically weaker than their opponents, Tigga said.
Later, the extremists huddled the bodies into the vehicle and set it on fire charring the bodies, some beyond recognition, he added.
The deceased were identified as Bhado Singh, Nakul Singh and his wife Phulmani Devi, Ranthu Turi and his wife Janki Devi, another woman Sumitra Devi, Ghanashyam Singh, Jharia Singh and a child, the SDPO said.
The ultras took away two rifles, two DBBL guns and a pistol, all were licensed to the Sena men.
According to Gurma villagers, the Shanti Sena, allegedly backed by the police, was formed with an aim to drive out the Maoists from the village and it had managed to resist Maoists to some extent.