At least 15 suspected Maoists were killed during an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on Monday morning, PTI reported. Sixteen weapons were recovered, DM Awasthi, the special director general of police (anti-Maoist operations), told the Hindustan Times.

The encounter took place in the Mika Tong forest under Konta police station limits in south Sukma. Search operations are under way. Four suspected Maoists have been arrested.

“This was one of the biggest anti-Naxal operations in the history of Chhattisgarh,” PTI quoted Awasthi as saying. He said two teams of security forces were sent into the forest on Sunday evening based on intelligence inputs about locations of Maoist camps in south Sukma.

The teams included personnel of the District Reserve Guard, Special Task Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Commando Battalion for Resolute Action.

One of the teams spotted a camp in Nalkatong village which led to a gun battle between security forces and Maoists, Awasthi said. The Maoists who were killed in the encounter are from three militia formations active in the tri-junction forest of Konta, Golapalli and Bhejji areas in south Sukma, he said.

Awasthi said militia Platoon Commander Vanjam Hunga was among the 15 killed and that identities of the 14 others were yet to be ascertained.

Awasthi added that bodies of 86 suspected Maoists have been recovered in the state so far this year. On July 19, the police claimed that eight Maoists had been killed in a similar encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Security forces had then recovered rifles and guns from the site of the encounter.