Police killed at least 24 Maoist rebels in a remote, forested area of Odisha on Monday, police said, one of the heaviest casualty tolls suffered by the insurgents in recent years.

Acting on a tip-off, police tracked a group of around 30 Maoists who had gathered at a makeshift training camp close to the border with Andhra Pradesh state, officials said.

When the officers surprised the gathering shortly after midnight, a gun battle erupted.

“It was a makeshift training camp. Police have recovered 24 dead bodies of the Maoists during the search,” Mitrabhanu Mahapatra, the chief of police in Malkangiri district, where the ambush occurred, told Reuters.