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Three Naxalites were killed in encounters with security personnel in Chhattisgarh’s south Bastar region on Saturday, police said.

Two Naxalites were gunned down in Bijapur district, while another was neutralised in neighbouring Sukma district, they said. In Bijapur, the gunfight occurred in a forest near Jappemarka-Kamkanar villages under the Mirtur police station limits, where a team of District Reserve Guard (DRG) was out on an anti-Naxalite operation, an official said.

The operation was launched based on a tip-off about the presence of Pandru, the in-charge of the west Bastar division supply team of Maoists, and Bhairamgarh area committee member Joga, along with 10 to 15 armed Maoists in the area, he said.

After guns fell silent, the DRG team recovered the bodies of two Naxalites along with weapons, wireless set, bags, Maoist uniform, medicines and materials of daily use from the spot, he said.

In another encounter, a Naxalite was killed by the security forces on a forested hill near Belpochcha village in Sukma district, Sukma Superintendent of Police Kiran Chavan told PTI.

An anti-Naxalite operation involving personnel from the DDRG, Bastar Fighters and district force — all units of the state police, was launched on Friday night based on inputs about the presence of Maoists in the forests of Belpochcha, Jinetong and Uskawaya villages in view of the bandh they have called on May 26, he said.

Maoists have called for a bandh on May 26 in the Bastar region to protest against the alleged fake encounters.

The SP said an exchange of fire broke out between the two sides when the patrolling team was near Belpochcha.

The patrolling team later recovered the body of a Naxalite along with a weapon, a cache of explosives and Maoist-related materials from the spot, he said.

The identity of the deceased cadre was yet to be ascertained, he said, adding that a search operation was underway in the area.

With this incident, 116 Naxalites have been killed so far this year in separate encounters with security forces in the state.

On Thursday, seven Naxalites were killed in an encounter on Narayanpur-Bijapur inter-district border.

Twelve Naxalites were killed in an encounter with security personnel in Bijapur on May 10, while 10, including three women, were gunned down in a forest along the border of Narayanpur and Kanker districts on April 30.

On April 16, 29 Naxalites were gunned down in an encounter in the state’s Kanker district, police said.