The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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32 Maoists killed in bid to storm airport

Kathmandu, Oct. 28 (Reuters): Security forces in Nepal killed at least 32 Maoist rebels when they tried to storm a rural airport, an army official said today.

Two soldiers also died in the fierce overnight gunbattle with the guerrillas who are battling to overthrow the impoverished country’s constitutional monarchy, he said.

Hundreds of rebels, who specialise in night-time hit-and-run attacks, raided the airport late yesterday in Rumjatar in Okhaldhunga district, 250 km east of Kathmandu, but guards repelled them at the perimeter.

“No harm has been done to the airport”, an army official said, adding: “We have found more bodies and now have 32 rebels confirmed dead.”

There was no comment from the rebels who are inspired by the revolutionary ideas of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong and are battling to set up a one-party communist republic in the world’s only Hindu kingdom.

The latest violence came less than a week after the guerrillas made an offer of peace talks to end the six-year-old revolt in which more than 5,100 people have died.

Interior minister Dharma Bahadur Thapa said the government “must receive concrete proposals before we respond”. “We have not got any authentic offer for talks from the rebels except statements made through the media,” Thapa said.

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