At least eight Maoists, including five women, were killed in an encounter with police at a forest area in insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh close to Telangana’s Khammam district in the wee hours today, police said.

A prominent Maoist leader from Telangana is believed to be among the eight rebels killed in the gunbattle, police sources said. 

The skirmish took place in Sakler forests under Kistaram Police Station limits, which is about about 500 kms south of Raipur, close to Telangana’s Khammam district.

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 Acting on a series of tip-offs, an operation, led by Telangana’s anti-Naxal force Greyhounds, was launched in the wee hours today, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, said S R P Kalluri.

A heavy exchange of fire took place between the two sides in Sakler forests. Later, bodies of eight rebels, including five women, were recovered from the spot, Kalluri said. 

An AK-47 rifle, one SLR, three Insas rifles and a .303 rifle were also recovered from the encounter spot, he said. 

Choppers were pressed into service to evacuate the security personnel from the area and shift the bodies of the rebels, he added. According to police sources, majority of the cadres killed in the face-off belonged to north Telangana.