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Fresh Maoist attack kills three in Kathmandu

Communist rebels ambushed an army patrol in western Nepal, killing at least three soldiers and injuring two others.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 13:26 IST

Communist rebels ambushed an army patrol in western Nepal early on Wednesday, killing at least three soldiers and injuring two others, the army said.

It was the third major rebel attack reported in the area in two weeks.

The patrol was ambushed after midnight near the village of Bibeke, about 250 kilometers west of Kathmandu, a Royal Nepalese Army official said.

An ensuing gunbattle lasted until dawn, when reinforcements reached the mountainous area and the guerrillas fled, he said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with army policy, said a number of rebels were also believed to have died in the fighting.

The rebels are known to carry away their fallen fighters to prevent the government from identifying them and tracing their families.

On January 30, rebels attacked the western town of Tansen, destroying government buildings and killing at least 20 security forces.

A week later, 16 government troops were killed when an army convoy was attacked on a key highway in the area.

Since then, thousands of soldiers have been deployed in the area to search its mountainous terrain for the rebels.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting since 1996 to replace the constitutional monarchy with a socialist state.

The insurgency has claimed about 12,000 lives.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 13:26 IST