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Maoist leader held in Chhattisgarh


Raipur : Police in Chhattisgarh Tuesday arrested a top Maoist leader and recovered a huge haul of weapons and explosives, including landmines and an AK-47.

Aitu, described as a "big gun" and wanted for dozens of attacks against police teams and civilians, was picked up from Dongargarh town in Rajnandgaon district early Tuesday along with an associate, police said.

"Aitu is a big gun. He was a terror icon in Chhattisgarh as well as in Maharashtra and sneaked into Dongargarh a few days ago from his forest hideout in Bastar, probably for medical treatment," a senior police official told IANS.

"It's a big breakthrough; we had been trying to trap him for past eight years," he added.

The police have recovered landmines, self-loading rifles and a major cache of explosives besides an AK-47.

Police have brought Aitu to Rajnandgaon town for interrogation. A police team from Maharashtra is expected to join in as he is alleged to have been involved in several killings in Gadchiroli district close to the Chhattisgarh border.

According to police estimates, around 5,000 hardcore Maoists armed with AK-47 rifles and landmines, backed by nearly 20,000 cadres, are active in southern Chhattisgarh's hilly terrain.