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50 Maoists killed as protests rocked Nepal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, April 9, IRNA
At least 50 Maoists were killed as Nepalese security forces repulsed a major rebel attack on Thursday on army headquarters in Rukum district, 550 km west of Kathmandu.

Nearly 4,000 rebels attacked the army camp on the evening of 7 April, triggering a fierce gunbattle which lasted 12 hours, defence sources informed Press Trust of India.

Bodies of 50 Maoists were recovered and many more were believed to be dead, the sources, said adding eight soldiers were also injured in the gunbattle.

Thirty one guns, including one AK-47 and a few SLRs, were recovered from the rebels, they said.

A massive search operation has been launched in the area after the incident.

The assault coincides with an 11-day strike called by rebels last weekend to protest against the February one royal takeover.

In Kathmandu yesterday, nearly 350 people including several former ministers, were arrested in government crackdown on massive countrywide demonstrations by the five main political against the royal takeover.

The protestors chanted slogans like "Down with autocratic king", "Restore Democratic Rights", "Long Live Democracy" and "Reinstate Parliament".

The demonstrations were held an hour after King Gyanendra who had sacked the Sher Bahadur Deuba Government on February 1 and suspended democracy and civil rights, witnessed the Royal Nepalese Army parade to observe the Ghode Jatra festval at the Royal Nepal Army pavillion near the agitation site.

Continuing with clampdown on countrywide agitation by political parties, more than one hundred activists were arrested in Pokhara.

Twenty-five, including former Minister Rambaran Yadav of Nepali Congress, in Dhanusha, 20 from Bardia, 15 from Nepalgunj, 15 from Nawalparasi, five from Surkhet, six from Palpa and 12 from Siraha were arrested.

Clampdown on the protestors turned Kathmandu into a fortress with heavy deployment of security forces and riot police in the wake of the protests called by the leading political parties including Nepali Congress, Nepal Communist Party (UML) and Nepali Congress

::IRNA No.010 09/04/2005 12:54 --End

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