An encounter took place between two rebel outfits, Tritiya Prastuti Committee (TPC) and CPI(Maoist) in Palamau district in the early hours today, in which at least 15 TPC men were killed, police said.
However, no body was recovered and a search operation is on, they said.
"People of Kouriya village informed us that 15 or 16 TPC naxalites were killed by the Maoists after an exchange of gunfire. The villagers said all the bodies were carried away by other TPC ultras who also took away the weapons of the dead," Superintendent of Police of neighbouring Latehar district, Michael S Raj said.
Raj is leading the search operation for bodies as Palamau SP Y S Ramesh is on leave.
Asked whether any ultra from the CPI (Maoist) was killed, he said they had no information on that.
Earlier, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Palamau Range) Ravi Kant Dhan told reporters here that the incident occurred between 2 AM and 3 AM at a spot, about 55 km from here.
A couple of years ago, the TPC ultras had killed ten Maoists in neighbouring Chatra district.
The TPC is a splinter group of the CPI (Maoist).