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Nepal Govt imposes night curfew in Kathmandu

Nepal's royalist government stepped up security after Maoist rebels killed 12 policemen in weekend raids near the city.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 19:07 IST

Nepal's royalist government on Monday imposed a night curfew in Kathmandu, saying it was stepping up security after Maoist rebels killed 12 policemen in weekend raids near the city.

The curfew applies for five hours from 11 pm, a Home Ministry spokesman said.

It was not clear how violators would be punished or how many days the curfew would last.

"It is a request from the government to the people in Kathmandu not to come out except in emergencies," he said.

The move was part of new security measures in the capital, home to 1.5 million people, the spokesman added.

At least 45 people have died across Nepal in a surge of violence since the Maoists ended a four-month truce on January 2.

The rebels are fighting to topple the monarchy and establish one-party communist rule. More than 12,500 people have been killed in the 10-year revolt.

The Maoists have vowed there will be more attacks to stop next month's elections to 58 municipal councils.

They carried out coordinated attacks at the weekend, raiding a strategic entry point into the capital at Thankot and killing 11 policemen there.

One policeman died in another attack near the popular temple town of Bhaktapur.

Analysts expect violence to rise in the run-up to the polls.

"The Maoists want to create more terror and give an impression that they are powerful and present even in the capital," said Yubaraj Ghimire, editor of Samay magazine.

"This will set off a chain of violence across the country, specially with a view to disrupt the February 8 municipal elections."

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 19:07 IST