Maoist commander caught in Rayagada forest

KORAPUT: A Maoist commander was arrested during a joint raid by f CPI (Maoist) and Odisha Police in Rayagada district on Wednesday. He is Srinath Brekbeda alias Raju, the commander of Bansadhara division of CPI (Maoist).

Police said Srinath was arrested from a forested area in Gudari. “We had intelligence inputs about the presence of Maoists in Gudari forest and and planned the operation accordingly. There were around 5 to 7 Maoists, who escaped seeing the securitymen. But the the commander was nabbed,” said SP (Rayagada) Rajesh Pandit.

Police said Srinath had joined the Maoists in 2007 and was a member of the special action team of the Bansadhara division. Srinath was a close associate to the Maoist leader Azad and was working with Rebel leader Nikhil, secretary of Bansadhara division. “Srinath was carrying a landmine and one SBML rifle. He has confessed to his involvement in around 10 major Maoist offensives in the district, including murders, attacking police outposts and blowing up mobile phone towers in the past few years,” the SP said. “Srinath, was an expert in handling landmines and pressure action IEDs. He used to extort money from traders and contractors,” the SP added.

In another development, nine suspected Maoists were arrested in Koraput district on Wednesday during a combing operation undertaken by the BSF and Odisha Police. “We were tipped-off about the presence of Maoists in Elangavalsa village and started the operation. The Maoists were arrested in and around the village,” said DIG (south-west range) S Devdutta Singh. “No arms and weapons were recovered from the arrested Red rebels and there has been no report of any injury from either side,” said DIG (south-west range) S Devdutta Singh.

The arrested rebels are Kadraka Jama, Kadraka Dharmeya, Kadraka Drimba, Kadraka Rajiga, Kadraka Kameya, Kadraka Ramulu, Kadraka Soma, Kadraka Linga and Mleka Ela. They belong to the Jhanjabati area group of Korput-Srikakulam divisional area committee. “The Maoists have confessed to their involvement in around eight offensives, including murder and exchange of fire with securitymen within Bandhugaon and Narayanpatna police limits in the past one year,” said SP (Koraput) Awinash Kumar.

The arrest comes close on the heels of the surrender of two Red rebels in the district on Monday. “We have intensified our anti-Maoist operations in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon areas and are hopeful of more arrests in the days to come,” the SP said.

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