At least four women Naxals were killed and a top Maoist leader injured in a gunbattle with security forces in insurgency-hit Sukma district on Sunday.
The operation was conducted jointly by Special Task Force (STF), District Reserve Group from Dantewada district and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the forests of Gadiras Police Station area, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, SRP Kalluri, told PTI.
Calling the operation a big success, Kalluri said security forces acted after they got information about presence of 'Divisional Commander' rank cadre Aaytu along with a group of rebels in Gadiras area, which falls on the Sukma-Dantewada border, located around 450 km from here.
Aaytu is the DVC member of Darbha Division of Maoists and also in-charge of of Malangir Area Committee, which has executed several deadly attacks in the region, including the deadly Jiram valley massacre, in which top Congress leaders were among 31 people killed.
"We received inputs about the presence of Aaytu last night, following which we mobilised our composite forces towards the region to nab him," the IG said.
While cordoning off the forests on top of the Nagalguda Pahad (hill) at around 5 AM, the security forces spotted the Naxals' hideout and started encircling the spot.
Sensing their presence, some of the armed cadres opened indiscriminate firing on them, prompting them to retaliate, he said.
After the ensuing gunfight that lasted for about two hours, the ultras fled from the spot leaving behind their belongings, he added.
During searching of the spot after the encounter, bodies of four women Naxals clad in uniform, besides a 303 rifle, two 12-bore rifles and Naxal-related items were recovered, he said.
The IG said that Aaytu was shot from close quarters in the gunbattle, but his colleagues managed to drag him inside the jungle.
Further details are awaited as the security forces are yet to come out of the jungle, he added.
With this encounter, the number of Naxals who have been gunned down so far this month by the Bastar Police has reached 14.