The forest falls within a Maoist corridor that stretches from Narayanpatna in Koraput to Andhra Pradesh, a senior police official said. "As the twin elections are fast approaching, movement of Red rebels, including their leaders from Andhra Pradesh, has increased in the area. We suspect that the Maoists were planning to hold a camp in Mungudavalsa forest to interrupt the poll process," said SP (Koraput) Awinash Kumar.
As two hardcore Maoists were killed in the gunbattle two days ago, police suspects that some other top cadres were present at the time of encounter but managed to escape. Police are on high alert and regular anti-Maoist operations intensified, he said.
"Combing operation in and around the encounter site has been strengthened with deployment of fresh batches of security personnel. Presence of more Maoists and their belongings in the area can't be ruled out," said the SP.
Two hardcore Maoists, Mala Sanjeeva alias Yadana and Epe Swamy of Andhra Pradesh, were gunned during an exchange of fire in Mungudavalsa forest, bordering Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday.