At least 22 security personnel were killed, 32 injured and one jawan was reportedly missing in a four-hour-long encounter with Maoist that took place on Saturday afternoon near Jonaguda village which falls under Jagargunda police station area (in Sukma).

"A reinforcement party has rushed to the encounter spot. Bodies of two jawans have been recovered as of now," Chhattisgarh Police sources said. "23 injured have been admitted to Bijapur hospital and 7 have been admitted to a Raipur hospital," it added.

The body of a woman Maoist was also recovered from the encounter spot.

"In an encounter in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, initial reports indicate that three District Reserve Guard (DRG) and two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans have been martyred, one Naxal has also been killed, the encounter is on," CRPF had said.

So far, 30 security personnel have sustained injuries, state's Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) OP Pal said. "Among the martyred personnel, one belonged to the CoBRA unit and two each are from the DRG and the 'Bastariya' battalion of the CRPF," the DIG said.

On Saturday, Chhattisgarh Director-General of Police DM Awasthi had informed that the gunbattle broke out when a joint team of security forces was out on an anti-Naxal operation.

For the last 10 days, security forces in Chhattisgarh were getting information about the whereabouts of Madvi Hidma, a top Naxal of banned CPI (Maoist) who has been linked to major attacks including the 2013 Jhiram Ghati killings.

Condoling the death of the security personnel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

“My thoughts are with the families of those martyred while fighting Maoists in Chhattisgarh. The sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten. May the injured recover at the earliest,” Modi said in a tweet.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has condemned the incident and said the martyrdom of the jawans will not go in vain, and the anti-Naxal operation will be intensified, an official statement said.