The Andhra Pradesh police today gunned down three Maoist guerrillas, including a woman rebel, in a shootout.
The shootout took place in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district in north coastal Andhra pradesh, about 600 km from Hyderabad.
The police said their patrol squad engaged in combing operations in the Aberupadu forests came face to face with a group of Maoists.
The guerrillas belonging to the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) opened fire on the police team, forcing them to retaliate.
Three Maoists were killed in the exchange of fire, which lasted for about half-an-hour. There were no casualties among the police. The police recovered three weapons and kit bags from the scene.
Maoists, whose movement has considerably weakened in the state during the past three years, are believed to be more active in north coastal region bordering Orissa.
A top police official said in end-December that the Maoist violence has touched lowest ebb ever in the state with 30 percent decline in the extremist activities during 2008.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in Maoist violence in the state since 1969, when Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra witnessed the first armed uprising by landless peasants.
The CPI-Maoist lost over 300 cadres, including several top leaders, during the last three years.
The state has been a traditional stronghold of Maoists, who claim to be fighting for poor and oppressed in the rural areas.