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8 killed in fresh clashes in poll-bound Nepal

Seven securitymen have been killed on the eve of local polls called by King Gyanendra as part of a pledge to restore democracy.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 12:59 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Nepal's Maoist rebels killed at least seven security force personnel in fresh clashes, the army said on Tuesday, on the eve of local polls called by King Gyanendra as part of a pledge to restore democracy.

One guerrilla also died in the clashes, the army said, amid tight security in the capital Kathmandu as a nationwide general strike called by the Maoists entered its third day.

The Maoists have been waging a violent campaign aimed at derailing the municipal polls that the rebels and opposition parties say are a sham aimed at perpetuating Gyanendra's control of the nation.

"Seven security personnel were killed in two separate overnight attacks in two different districts," an army headquarters official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Three soldiers and two policemen died when rebels stormed the district headquarters town of Gaighat, 400 kilometers east of Kathmandu, the official said. The body of a guerrilla was also found at the scene.

A soldier and a policeman also died when rebels attacked a municipal building in Panauti, 30 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu, he added.

The rebels had vowed to step up violence ahead of the polls that were called by Gyanendra, who seized power a year ago, as a first step toward restoring democracy by April 2007.

On Sunday, the rebels declared a week-long general strike as part of their campaign to thwart the polls that has largely paralysed the nation.

The latest deaths came after two people were killed Monday in insurgency-related violence.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 12:59 IST