Phaparbari, January 23:

The locals in the Phaparbari VDC ward no 1, Jhurjhure, are still terrified after they witnessed the clash between the security personnel and the Maoists on Saturday night. The bodies of three persons, including that of a six-year-old child killed in the encounter, were lying unclaimed till this evening.

Wife of one 34-year-old Man Bahadur Bajyu, who lost her husband in the encounter said: “The body is still in the courtyard, I have not been able to perform the last rite.”

During the encounter, she was afraid that her house might catch fire from her neighbour’s burning house and the fear of being shot was always there, she said. Man Bahadur was shot on the head when everyone was running to a ditch for cover, neighbours said.

One 85-year-old Pratap Singh Bajyu and a 6-year-old boy were also killed in the crossfire.

The Maoists’ Pratap Memorial Brigade 10th Battalion Special Force said 23 Maoists died in the encounter. They said this while talking to the journalists who arrived at the incident site today. “We had not prepared for the fighting. Around 200 Maoists of the Pratap, Basu and Bethan Memorial Brigade were staying in the Jhurjhure,” the Brigade informed.

According to a local, Nandalal Pakhrin, all the villagers ran for safety to the jungle after the night vision helicopter had bombarded the village on last night.

The bombardment continued from 11:00 pm till 04:00 am but the encounter continued from 6:00 pm till 06:00 am in the morning, said the locals.

The army have detained local youths, 18-year-old Buddha Bahadur Bajyu and Ramesh Thing and the locals have urged for their release. Meanwhile, the Maoists, talking to the journalists at the incident site, claimed killing 64 security personnel. They said the conversation they heard from the wireless communication sets they seized from the security forces confirmed that they lost 64 men, the Maoists said.