Sambalpur (Odisha), Dec 26 (PTI) An exchange of fire took place between Maoists and security forces at Gandhamardan hill range in Bargarh district, around 180 km from here, a senior police officer said Wednesday.

Police claimed that at least two Maoists suffered injuries in the gun battle on Tuesday night.

“We had information about the Maoist movement at the foothill of Gandhamardan. Subsequently, a police team was sent to the Gandhamardan. The police team came across the group of ultra while returning. The Maoist first opened fire at the police team and subsequently police retaliated. The Maoists escaped from the spot,” said Bargarh Superintendent of Police, Mukesh K Bhamo.

Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Laxminarayan Panda claimed that two Maoists including the head of the Bargarh-Bolangir- Mahasamund divisional committee, Rabindra besides one of his associates have received injuries in the exchange of fire.

Panda said, the police team was coming down to the foothills of Gandhamardan Hill Range when they came across the Maoist group of around 10 to 12 cadres. However, on seeing the police, they suddenly opened fire, forcing the security personnel to retaliate, he said.

The exchange of fire continued for more than 15 minutes. More than fifty rounds of bullets were fired from both the side in the exchange of fire. However, the Maoist escaped from the spot taking advantage of the darkness, Panda said.

The police have seized 16 empty catridges, a sharp knife, a bag, and several other things from the spot. Police have also launched a combing operation in that area, he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.