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14 killed in fresh Nepal violence

Kathmandu, Sept. 22 (Reuters): At least fourteen people including eleven Maoist rebels fighting against constitutional monarchy were killed today in a fresh wave of violence across Nepal, officials said.

Violence has surged since the Maoists walked out of peace talks last month after the government refused a demand for a new constitution to decide the future of Nepal’s monarchy.

Nine of the rebels were killed in a gun battle at Kamalabari in Udayapur, 300 km east of Kathmandu.

Another two were chased and killed by villagers who said they had been extorting money in Sarlahi, an eastern village.

The rebels also shot dead two policemen and a village politician in separate incidents, another official said.

There was no comment from the rebel group, who want to set up a communist republic in the mountainous nation.

In the past the Maoists have claimed fewer casualties than official figures. More than 7,300 people have died in the Maoist rebellion since 1996 and the economy shattered in what was already one of the world’s poorest nations.

Officials in Nepal say the country lost $140 million in a three-day general strike called by the Maoist rebels which ended on Saturday.

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