Three Central Reserve Police Force personnel died in an encounter with Naxals, while a girl was killed after being caught in the crossfire, in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Friday, police said.
The gun battle took place around 11 am close to a culvert near Keshkutul village when a joint team of the CRPF's 199th battalion and state police was out on an area domination patrol on motorcycles, Bijapur Superintendent of Police Divyang Patel said.
Two girls were caught in the crossfire. One of them, Jibbi Telam, 14, died, while the other was injured, police said.
The motorcycle-borne patrolling team was heading towards Bhairamgarh from its camp in Keshkutul, which falls under the Bhairamgarh police station area.
When it was advancing through Keshkutul, the team was ambushed by a group of armed rebels and a gunfight ensued, Patel said.
While two CRPF men were killed in the encounter, another CRPF man later succumbed to injuries, officials said.
The deceased CRPF personnel are assistant sub-inspectors Mahadeva P, 50, and Madan Pal Singh, 52, and head constable Saju O P, 47, officials said.
While Mahadeva hailed from Gulbarga in Karnataka, Singh hailed from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and Saju from Idukki in Kerala.
Two minor girls travelling in a goods carrier were caught in the crossfire when their vehicle was passing through the encounter spot, the SP said.
One of them died, while the other was injured, he said.
Reinforcement has been rushed to the spot and the injured were admitted to a hospital in Bhairamgarh, he said.
During a search of the encounter spot, two pressure improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered, Patel said.
According to another police official, Naxals looted an AK-47 rifle, its four magazines, one bulletproof jacket and a wireless set of security forces during the encounter.