Bhubaneswar, March 26: Four women Maoists have been killed during an exchange of fire with security personnel in Narayanpatna area of Odisha's Koraput district on Sunday night.
Acting on a tip-off, the District Voluntary Force (DVF) and Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel launched a joint combing operation in the forest areas of Narayanpatna, Director General of Police R P Sharma said.
"As soon as the left-wing extremists saw security personnel approaching them, they opened fire. When the security forces retaliated, a fierce gun battle ensued between the two sides, leading to the death of four women cadres," Sharma explained.
It appeared that 10 to 12 rebels of the Andhra-Odisha Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) were present at the site during the encounter, he said.
"The bodies of three women cadres were recovered right after the encounter last night while another body was found in the forest this morning," Sharma said, adding that four rifles, kit bags, land mine and some ammunition besides some naxal literature were recovered from the site.
A massive search operation has been launched in the area following the gun battle and efforts are on to establish the identity of the slain rebels, suspected to be the area committee members of the banned outfit, the DGP asserted.
Describing the Koraput operation as a "major success," the DGP said yesterday's encounter comes two days after another Maoist cadre was gunned down by security personnel in Malkangiri district.