Five suspected naxalites of CPI (ML) Chandra Pulla Reddy (Bata) faction were killed in an encounter with the police in the Mellamadugu forest area of Tekulapalli mandal in the early hours of Thursday.
Three more members of the “naxal group” are understood to have suffered gunshot wounds in the incident.
This is the first major “exchange of fire” involving the police and naxalites in the predominantly tribal district which was carved out of the erstwhile Khammam district last year.
Police sources said the encounter took place in the Mellamadugu forest area under Bodu police station limits in the small hours of the day when armed ultras of the CP (Bata) group opened fire on a police team engaged in combing operation.
This prompted the police to return the fire in self-defence and the exchange lasted for nearly 10 minutes, a senior police officer of Yellandu sub-division said.
Around five to six members of the CP (Bata) group died at the encounter site. A few more are believed to have sustained bullet injuries and escaped deep into the forest, according to police. Weapons and ammunition were also recovered.
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