Fierce gun battles between Maoists and police near Balimela in Odisha

Sources said it was a major Maoist camp and there was intense firing from both sides. The Maoists blasted land mines and the exchange of fire lasted for a long time.

By Author  |  Published: 17th May 2018  1:05 pmUpdated: 17th May 2018  1:09 pm
Maoists

Hyderabad: A major gun battle broke out between security forces and a large team of Maoists near Ramaguda village near Balimela reservoir in Odisha on Thursday morning. No casualties have been reported on either side so far, police sources told Telangana Today.

A Grey Hounds Team with Odisha police special teams was reported to have encountered a team of naxalites near Ramaguda village around 6 a.m. Sources said it was a major Maoist camp and there was intense firing from both sides. The Maoists blasted land mines and the exchange of fire lasted for a long time.

Later the retreating Maoists were challenged by another team of security forces near Balimela reservoir and the second round of firing took place. The Grey Hounds teams are in hot pursuit of the fleeing Maoists.

As the news of two gun battles spread, there were reports from Chhattisgarh that a top Maoist leader and three others were killed in the firing. But sources in Andhra Pradesh police did not confirm any such reports. “We’re covered many kit bags, but did not find any bodies” was the cryptic comment from a police officer.

Officers involved in counter-insurgency operations analysed that possibly top leadership could have been present in the camp, when the gun battle broke out in the morning. Going by the way Maoists teams were operating, officers analysed that the intense firing followed by blasting of improvised explosive devices indicated the standard Maoist tactic to ensure escape of top leaders from the raid.

It’s a standard Maoist tactic in such scenarios to leave a small group of rebels to engage the security forces with intense firing, while others escape. “Perhaps, this was what happened today as the second exchange of fire took place around 9 a.m near Balimela reservoir”, an expert felt.

Balimela is the one of the biggest strongholds of Maoists on Odisha- Andhra Pradesh border. This was the place where the Maoists pulled off one of the biggest attacks on Grey Hounds in 2008, when they killed 38 commandoes of the elite commando force.

Just about three days ago, security forces killed seven Maoist rebels in Odisha in a series of encounters.