38 die in Nepalese army attack

At least 35 Maoists and three Nepalese soldiers have been killed during an army attack on a rebel base.

    The Nepalese army is fighting rebels intent on toppling the monarchy

    State radio said on Wednesday the clash was Nepal's deadliest since

    guerrillas ended a ceasefire last month.

    "The bodies of 35 Maoists have been recovered. Three army men

    are dead and some others are injured," state radio said.

    Death toll

    However, an army official, speaking on condition of anonymity,

    said 44 Maoists and six soldiers were killed in the operation in

    Rolpa district, 460 km west of the capital

    Kathmandu.

    He said the toll in the clash

    could rise past 100 and the army had fired from a

    helicopter to break down Maoist defenses.

    A police officer said troops and police raided a suspected

    Maoist hideout from three sides on Wednesday morning on suspicion that

    senior rebels were there.

    The army official described the hideout as a "fortress"

    surrounded by sandbags and stones to protect it from attack.

    'People's war'

    Tolls from clashes in Nepal are difficult to verify

    independently as they usually occur in isolated areas.

    Rolpa is a rural district where the Maoists in February 1996

    declared their "people's war" to topple the monarchy.

    The rebels

    ended a seven-month ceasefire on 27 August.

    SOURCE: AFP


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