Bhubaneswar: The toll in the Malkangiri encounter mounted to 28 after four more bodies were recovered from the forest, away from the Maoists camp at Bejingi, a top home department official said on Wednesday.
"We have found four more bodies. The total number of Maoists killed in the encounter is now 28," said Odisha's Home Secretary Asit Tripathy.
Stating that some of the slain Maoists were member of the RK Group, Tripathy said 18 of the 28 bodies have so far been identified.
"Some state committee members and senior leaders of the Maoist outfit have been killed in the encounter," Tripathy said.
Asked about the precautions being taken in wake of the massive success of the joint operation, the home secretary said that the both state and central forces deployed in undivided Kalahandi and Koraput districts have been asked to remain extra-alert towards the movement of the Naxalites.
Tripathy said a big contingent of CRPF's COBRA jawans, personnel of BSF and Odisha's elite special operation group (SOG) members besides general police personnel have been deployed in the districts of Kalahandi and Koraput.
Noting that the combing operation have been intensified in the undivided Koraput and Kalahandi districts, the home secretary said the extra vigil was being maintained in other districts also.
He said the inspector general (operation) R P Koche and DIG, south-western range S Syni have been camping at Malkangiri and monitoring the situation from the district headquarters.
Bodies of at least 24 Maoists, including some top leaders, were gunned down in a fierce gun-battle with security forces in Odisha's Malkangiri district on the border with Andhra Pradesh on October 24.
The security personnel later found four more bodies during search operation in the forests, police said.
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.