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Seven Maoists were killed in an encounter with security personnel in a forest along the Narayanpur-Bijapur inter-district border in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, police said. The gunfight broke out around 11 am when a joint team of security personnel was out on an anti-Maoist operation and the intermittent firing was still underway, Narayanpur Superintendent of Police (SP) Prabhat Kumar said.

Seven Maoists in “Maoist uniform” have been gunned down in the exchange of fire so far, said the SP.

The operation, involving personnel belonging to the District Reserve Guard from Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bastar districts, Bastar Fighters and Special Task Force – all units of state police – was launched based on inputs about the presence of cadres from Maoists’ Indravati Area Committee and Platoon No. 16, he said.

Altogether seven firearms have been recovered from the encounter site, he said.

The operation is still underway and further details were awaited, he added.

With this incident, 112 Naxalites have been killed so far this year in separate encounters with security forces in the state.

Ten Maoists, including three women, were killed in an encounter with security personnel in a forest along the border of Narayanpur and Kanker districts on April 30. On April 16, security forces had gunned down 29 Naxalites during an exchange of fire in Kanker district, according to police.

On May 10, they said, 12 Maoists were eliminated in a gunbattle with security personnel near Pidia village in Bijapur district. However, local villagers and activists had claimed that those killed near Pidia were not Maoists and that the encounter was staged.