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Massive Maoist attacks take place in midwest Nepal

An important administrative centre was racked by gunfire and blasts as the rebels began a simultaneous attack on more than five targets.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 11:12 IST

Maoist guerrillas launched a series of massive attacks in a key city in Nepal, a day after the home minister said security has been beefed up across the country and civic elections would not be postponed.

Nepalgunj, headquarters of Banke district and an important administrative and commercial centre in midwestern Nepal, was racked by gunfire and explosions on Tuesday night as the rebels began a simultaneous attack on more than five targets.

The regional police training centre, a branch of Nepal Rastra Bank, district prison and several police offices came under attack in a battle that began at about 8 pm and went on for nearly two hours, the local media said.

There was no immediate official information on the attacks. The state media, devoted to election propaganda, ignored the raid.

However, BBC's Nepali Service, quoting its correspondent in Nepalgunj, said sounds of gunfire and blasts could be heard.

The raids come less than a week after twin attacks by the rebels in the same city. The guerrillas had attacked two police posts in Nepalgunj on Friday, killing six policemen.

The fresh violence comes after Home Minister Kamal Thapa's statement to the media earlier this week that security had been boosted in the kingdom and civic elections would be held as per schedule February 8.

The controversial elections called by King Gyanendra after his power grab last year are being boycotted by Nepal's major parliamentary parties while the Maoists have warned they would not allow the exercise to be held.

The opposition has called a nationwide shutdown Thursday as part of their poll boycott campaign.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 11:12 IST