Combing operation continued, More arms recovered

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 24 (UNI) For the third consecutive day today, the security forces have recovered arms and ammunition looted by the Naxalites from the armouries by killing 15 police personnel and a civilian at Nayagarh on February 15 last.

This was the fourth haul by the security forces during the weeklong operation, considered to be the country's biggest search operation launched in the state to track down the fleeing ultras involved in Nayagarh mayhem.

Official sources said the security personnel engaged in the combing and search operation, today recovered four 303 rifles, six pistols, one revolver, nearly 10,000 cartridges of AK-47, SLR and Light Machine Gun from Gasama hill, the base camp of the Naxalite.

Meanwhile, the security forces today moved to the Bhalungia and Lalungia forest close to Kandhmal border to retrieve some bodies after an advance search party reported sighting of three decomposed bodies inside the forest.

In yesterday's operation the forces had recovered 30 INSAS Rifles, 17 revolvers, two SLRs, forty 303 rifles and about 3000 rounds of ammunition.

Prior to that the security men had seized a truck, loaded with arms including 237 three-zero-three rifles, 16 INSAS rifles, two SLR, six Stengun, five carbine, one sub-machine gun, 16 pistols, four country made guns, 16 boxes live cartridges, two thousand round empty cartridges, 19 land mines, six grenades and three swords, looted by the naxals from Nayagarh Armoury.

On February 18 the Greyhound force, CRPF and Special Operation Group (SOG), engaged in the combing operation, had seized a huge dump of arms and ammunition left behind by the rebels on the Gasama hill.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the Naxalite operation at the state secretariat today and discussed the various steps taken to guard the district armouries and strengthen the police stations across the state.

The review revealed that so far the security forces had been able to recover almost 80 per cent of the arms and 75 percent ammunition looted from the Nayagarh Armoury and the Police Training School on February 15 last.

State DGP Gopal Nanda, Director Intelligence Manmohan Praharaj and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Bijya Pattnaik attended the review meeting.

Sources said the combing operations were continuing in full swing in Gosama hill range and other areas in Nayagarh, Kandhmal, Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts. Several suspects picked up from various places during the combing operation, were being interrogated.

The state government, meanwhile, has requested the Union Home Minister to sanction five more India Reserve Battalion for Orissa.

The Centre had already sanctioned three I R Battalion of which the state government had already raised one IR Battalion and steps were being taken to complete the recruitment of two other battalions within a month.

UNI DP PC Mir RK2231

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