Five soldiers killed in Nepal Maoist attack
Five soldiers and at least one rebel were killed when Maoists launched their first major offensive since King Gyanendra seized power, attacking police posts and Government buildings, an Army source said on Thursday.
The assault, which was repulsed by the security forces, took place on Wednesday night in the far western region of Kailali, the source said.
"Several hundred Maoist rebels tried to attack various Government offices including those of the district police, regional police and ward police, Nepal Rastra (Central Bank) and district administration office in Dhangadhi district," the source said.
"The security forces foiled the attack but five security men were killed and four other injured," he said. The rebels had bombed the local jail and set free 18 inmates, he added.
The source said the Maoists had also suffered heavy casualties but only one body had been found because the rebels had carried away their dead and injured.
The attack was the first major offensive since King Gyanendra last week sacked the Government, seized power and announced a state of emergency.
The new Government has offered unconditional talks with the rebels to end an insurgency, which began in 1996 and has killed 11,000 people but the Maoists have yet to respond.
In violence earlier in the week, at least six Maoists and a soldier were killed in a series of clashes, state-run daily the Rising Nepal said on Thursday.
Despite the peace overture, the Army has warned it would unleash fresh offensives against the rebels in a bid to force them to the negotiating table.
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