Maoists are trying to re-organise and regain their lost ground in the district, said Sambalpur SP Prateek Mohanty on Thursday.
Briefing mediapersons about the exchange of fire that took place on Wednesday, Mohanty said there were 30 to 35 Maoists in the group including eight to 10 female cadres.
The exchange of fire took place in Landakot reserve forest under Rairakhol police limits of the district and police had specific information about their movement.
The SP said the Maoists opened fire first and police retaliated in which 130 rounds of bullets were fired and grenades used. As the exchange of fire could have left some Maoists injured, a joint operation by police and CRPF was underway to trace the injured. He added that all the cadres were armed with weapons like AK, INSAS and SLR.
The seizure included garments, utensils, medicines, uniforms, Maoist literature, groceries, ammunition bags besides other items.
Sources said Maoists are trying to push hard their plan of developing a corridor which would unite the banned Left ultras from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The movement is believed to be a part of the plan. According to reports, Maoists have set aside Sundargarh district from their original Sundargarh-Deogarh-Sambalpur Divisional Committee and included Sonepur district. Hadrcore Maoist leader and secretary of Dakshin Chhotanagpur Zonal Committee Samarji alias Anmol Hembram is believed to be coordinating the activities.
Maoists from across the border on both sides are planning to make Gandhamardan hill range in Bargarh district a hopping point before converging in Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary in Nuapada district.
They are planning to replicate their model of guerilla warfare and training camp in Sunabeda with security forces out against them in Saranda forest in Jharkhand bordering Odisha.