Malkangiri: The death toll in Monday's encounter in Malkangiri district rose to 27 on Tuesday, as the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Police recovered three more bodies of Maoists.
On Monday, 24 Maoists, including their top leaders, were gunned down in a fierce gun-battle with security forces in Odisha's Malkangiri district on the border with Andhra Pradesh, giving a major blow to the ultras.
A senior commando of the elite anti-Naxal force, Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh was also killed, while another commando was injured in the encounter that took place in the cut-off area of remote Chitrakonda on Andhra-Odisha border, Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said.
"The bodies of 24 Maoists, including that of some women, were recovered from the site after the joint operation conducted by the Odisha police and Greyhounds, while a few of the rebels are suspected to have fled," the SP said.
He said two senior Greyhounds commandos, who were injured in the gun-battle in the wee hours, had been airlifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment and one of them, identified as Visakhapatnam for treatment and one of them, identified as Abubacker, succumbed to injuries in a hospital there. The other commando is undergoing treatment.
Some high-ranking Maoist leaders, including Uday and Chalapati who carried heavy rewards on their heads, were suspected to be among those killed in the encounter that took place in a mountainous forest area between Bejing and Muchiputam under Panasput grampanchyat, the police said.
Stating that the operation was launched on the basis of intelligence inputs, Odisha GDP KB Singh said 10 rifles, four AK-47 rifles, three SLRs, kit bags and huge ammunition have been recovered from the site and search operation was continuing.
Malkangiri served as a major transit belt of the Naxals.
In September 2013, as many as 13 Maoists were killed in an exchange of fire with the police in the Padia area of Malkangiri district.
The operation is seen as a revenge of the attack on June 29, 2008 when Maoists had ambushed a boat carrying Greyhound jawans in the reservoir at Alampaka. Altogether 38 persons, including 35 Greyhound jawans from Andhra Pradesh, had been killed in the attack.
(With PTI inputs)