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US diplomats asked to leave Nepal

The US embassy in Nepal has told the families of diplomats to leave because of security concerns.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 16:04 IST

The US embassy in Nepal on Monday told the families of diplomats and some staff to leave the country because of security concerns after almost three weeks of violent anti-king protests.

"Under ordered departure, mission family members and non-emergency American employees would depart Nepal as soon as possible," the embassy said in a statement.

"American citizens should also depart Nepal as soon as possible."

The order came on the 19th day of strikes and violent protests that have rocked the capital in an attempt to end nearly 15 months of absolute rule by the world's only Hindu monarch, King Gyanendra.

At least 14 people have been killed in clashes across the country between protesters and the security forces, with hundreds injured and many more arrested.

The Department of State was concerned by threats to safety from "political instability, civil disorder, demonstrations" and lack of supplies, according to the statement.

Stone-throwing protesters have attacked vehicles including US diplomatic cars, the statement said.

It said security forces with orders to shoot-to-kill curfew violators used "sometimes violent measures" including tear gas and rubber bullets to control the growing number of demonstrations.

Arrests of doctors and the numbers of injured demonstrators had limited the medical services on offer in the capital while curfews made it difficult for embassy staff to provide help.

Another seven-hour curfew was ordered Monday ahead of further protests planned by Nepal's opposition.

The embassy said Americans who remained behind should avoid road travel and keep a low-profile during demonstrations. The US Peace Corps here closed in September 2004 after more than 40 years in Nepal following a suspected Maoist bombing at an American educational and cultural centre. Nobody was injured.

Nepal's Maoist insurgency has claimed at least 12,500 lives over the past decade.