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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
Nepal troops 'thwart' rebel attack
Nepalese soldiers
Troops are combing the jungle for rebel fighters
Nepalese troops are hunting Maoist guerrillas after repelling a major attack on a remote western army post, the authorities say.

At least a dozen soldiers and more than 100 rebels are reported to have been killed in fighting on Wednesday and Thursday in Salyan district, about 300 kilometres (200 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu.


Terrorists have suffered heavy losses and it is understood security forces also have suffered some

Defence Ministry
Officials say the bodies of 50 rebels have been recovered so far. There has been no official confirmation of overall casualty figures, and no word from the rebels.

The Maoist assault was the latest in their increasingly bloody six-year struggle to replace Nepal's constitutional monarchy with a communist state.

Officials say about 500 rebels attacked the makeshift military camp in the hill village of Dhamachour on Wednesday night.

The army regained control 24 hours later, firing from helicopters at the guerrillas in the jungle below.

Troops backed by reinforcements are now combing the area around the camp for rebel survivors, the army says.

Elsewhere in the kingdom, at least 38 rebels were killed in other clashes over the last three days, state radio reported.

Unreliable figures

Correspondents says the clash is the biggest since Nepalese security forces killed more than 200 rebels when they thwarted a similar attack in neighbouring Rukum district last month.

Khara village in western nepal after battle at end of may
Civil war is hitting rural areas hard
Independent confirmation of the reports is difficult to obtain owing to the area's rugged terrain and poor communications.

Under a state of emergency, journalists and human rights workers are seldom able to visit the conflict zone to check details for themselves.

Locals contacted by the BBC said most district officials had fled to safety in Kathmandu or India.

They said the Maoists had destroyed outlying health posts, looted medicines and were preventing travel by cutting rope bridges.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in six years of civil war, two-thirds of them since November when the government imposed a state of emergency, and unleashed the army on the rebels.

However, differences at home over the state of emergency have pushed Nepal into a political crisis which will not be resolved before fresh elections are held in November.

Background to Nepal's Maoist war

Analysis

Eyewitness

Background:

BBC NEPALI SERVICE
See also:

28 May 02 | South Asia
27 May 02 | South Asia
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