Maoists kill six cops in Kathmandu

Updated on Jan 21, 2006 03:22 PM IST

Killings came less than a week after Maoists attacked Kathmandu Valley on January 14, killing 12 policemen.

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None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Kathmandu

Maoists in Nepal attacked a police patrol late on Friday killing six policemen even as the government enforced a daylong curfew in Kathmandu amid protest rallies by the opposition parties.

In coordinated attacks in Nepalganj city, considered a Maoist stronghold, the Maoists attacked a police patrol and a police check post.

Four policemen were killed when the guerrillas attacked the patrol near BP Chowk, a busy market area, while two more died in the attack on the check post at Jamunaha.

The fresh killings came less than a week after the Maoists attacked Kathmandu Valley on January 14, killing 12 policemen. The guerrillas resumed arms on January 2, after the expiry of their four-month unilateral ceasefire.

During the ceasefire, King Gyanendra and his handpicked ministers had been claiming the security situation in the country had improved remarkably since the monarch seized power with the help of the army last year.

The fresh attacks also came less than a fortnight before the first anniversary of the royal coup and 18 days before local elections called by the king.

The civic polls on February 8 have become a huge prestige issue with the King who had sacked Sher Bahadur Deuba as prime minister twice for "inefficiency" for not being able to hold elections due to the Maoists' threat that they would not allow these.

However, now in addition to the rebels, Nepal's major political parties that had won over 90 per cent seats in the last general election are also opposing the king-called polls.

The international community, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has been urging the king to effect reconciliation with the opposition parties and unitedly begin peace talks with the Maoists before holding polls but to no avail.

The King chose to continue on a collision course with the parties by arresting the top opposition leaders on the eve of the protest rally on Friday and putting five other senior leaders, including three-time former prime minister and opposition strongman Girija Prasad Koirala, under house arrest for three months.

Though day curfew was not extended after Friday, Kathmandu Valley continues to be under curfew indefinitely from 9 pm to 4 am.

Mobile phone services as well as wireless telephone services by Indian joint venture United Telecom Ltd also continue to remain suspended indefinitely.

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