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Eight killed as rebels in Nepal raid jail

The guerrillas, who specialise in hit-and-run attacks, drove in buses and trucks, attacking government buildings.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 20:54 IST

Hundreds of Maoist rebels raided a town in eastern Nepal, bombing government buildings and freeing dozens of prisoners from a local jail, officials said on Monday.

At least eight people -- three Maoists, two civilians, two policemen and a soldier -- were killed in the overnight attack in Ilam, about 600 km east of Kathmandu, they said.

The guerrillas, who specialise in hit-and-run attacks, drove into Ilam in buses and trucks, attacking government buildings and shooting at security posts, residents said.

"The Maoists also stormed the local jail and freed more than 100 prisoners including some Maoists," a police officer said.

He said the rebels, who are fighting to overthrow Nepal's constitutional monarchy, bombed or set fire to the district administration office building, the revenue office and the local municipal council office.

Analysts said the jail seemed to be the focus of the raid.

"They probably wanted to free some of their hardcore Maoists who were jailed there," said Rajendra Dahal, editor of the Himal magazine.

"We spent the night in terror," Ilam housewife Kamala Bhattarai said.

"We could hear gun shots and explosions for several hours."

More than a dozen security troops were wounded in the fighting.

The rebels also set ablaze the home of the mayor who was elected in last month's municipal elections opposed by the Maoists, journalist Rohit Chandra Bhattarai said.

He said the fighting continued until dawn when an army helicopter was seen and the rebels sped away in buses. "Many buildings in Ilam are burnt out and riddled with bullet holes," said another resident.

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 20:54 IST