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Monday, 2 April, 2001, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Nepal rebels launch major assault
Durban square, Kathmandu
Five years of rebel insurgency have left 1,600 dead
By Sushil Sharma in Kathmandu

The authorities in Nepal say that at least 38 people, most of them policemen, have been killed in separate overnight clashes between the police and Maoist rebels in two remote hill districts.

Rebels marked the fifth anniversary of their insurgency by attacking several police stations in different parts of the country.

Nepalese police
Maoist rebels attacked several police posts
In one of the worst clashes between the police and the rebels since the start of the trouble, 30 policemen were killed and 14 wounded in the western district of Rukum.

More than 70 officers were said to be at the police post at the time of the rebel attack.

A home ministry spokesman told the BBC that details are still awaited.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Ram Chandra Poudel, who is also home minister, has rushed to the area along with senior police officials.

Rebel silence

In a separate incident in the north-eastern district of Dolakha, five policemen and three rebels were killed in clashes.

Police believe 10 more rebels died in the fighting.

Maoist graffiti
The rebels want a Communist republic
There have also been reports of clashes in other areas, and minor explosions in the capital, Kathmandu. But no one has been injured.

There has been no immediate word from the rebels about any of these incidents.

About 1,600 people have died since the underground Maoist Communist Party launched the insurgency in February 1996, to replace the multi party parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with a Communist republic.

Following recent domestic and international pressure, both the government and the rebels said that they were ready for peace talks.

But efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiation table have so far failed.

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | South Asia
Nepal rebels 'offer peace talks'
25 Sep 00 | South Asia
Maoist rebels kill police in Nepal
23 Feb 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Nepal's Maoist rebellion
13 Apr 00 | South Asia
Police die in Nepal mine attack
08 Feb 00 | South Asia
Nepal urged to talk to Maoist rebels
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