Six Maoist insurgents, including two division committee members of the outlawed group, were killed in an exchange of fire with the police inside Teegalametta forests of Visakhapatnam agency in the early hours of Wednesday. A few Maoists, who are believed to have suffered injuries, managed to escape from the encounter spot under Mampa police station limits in Koyyuru Mandal.
At the time of exchange of fire, there were around 25 ultras of the Galikonda area committee and PLGA team, the military wing of the proscribed Naxal group, at the site. Security forces recovered weapons including one AK-47, one SLR, three .303 rifles, one tapancha, besides two walkie-talkies, explosives, kit bags, and other material.
It’s the first time in many years that Maoists have suffered these many casualties on AP soil. Wednesday’s encounter was the first in the Visakhapatnam agency area after two years of relative lull. The last big encounter happened in October 2016, when around 32 Maoists, including several Andhra-Odisha border zonal committee leaders, were killed by security forces but it happened at Ramaguda in Malkangiri district of Odisha, close to the AP border.
Visakha rural SP Boddepalli Krishna Rao said the exchange of fire between the ultras and anti-Naxal force Greyhounds took place close to U Cheedipalem and Palakajidi villages, around 10km from Mampa.“We have information that some Naxals are injured. We assure the best medical treatment for them if they surrender to the police. We are also appealing to other cadres to surrender and join the mainstream,” he said.
Among those killed in Wednesday’s encounter include DCM cadre leader Sande Gangaiah, alias Ashok, from Gumpula village under Odelu Mandal in Peddapalli district of Telangana. Gangaiah was a member of the medical team of CPI (Maoists). The others were identified as Ranadev, alias Arjun, of Kalimela squad, area committee member Santu Nachika from Koraput district in Odisha, woman cadres Paike from Chhattisgarh and Lalita from Teemulabanda village under GK Veedhi Mandal in Visakhapatnam district. The body of one more woman Naxal is yet to be identified.
“We received information that Maoists were procuring essentials from nearby villages, which indicates they had already set up a camp in the area. Around seven teams of Greyhounds surrounded the area. All three women cadres were at sentry posts when the exchange of fire took place,” a police source said.
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