Kathmandu, Sept. 2 (Reuters): Twelve Maoist rebels and two policemen have been killed in Nepal as guerrillas stepped up attacks after calling off a seven-month truce and walking out of peace talks, officials said today.
As the rebels intensified their insurgency, Nepal’s main political parties said they would defy a government ban on demonstrations and would go ahead with a campaign to force the king to sack the Prime Minister and appoint a new government. The rebels, who are fighting to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, launched attacks on two police posts about 500 km east of the capital, Kathmandu, last night, a defence official said. Five guerrillas and two policemen were killed and five policemen were wounded.
Government troops shot dead four Maoists in neighbouring Khotang in east Nepal. The others died in separate clashes elsewhere. The rebels have been fighting for a one-party communist state in the Hindu Himalayan kingdom since 1996. They said last week they were ending a truce after the government rejected a demand for an assembly to draft a new constitution. The flare up comes as a political row over the Prime Minister and his government drags on. King Gyanendra fired elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in October and appointed a royalist in his place after disagreement over the timing of a general election.
The main political parties have been protesting against the move ever since and said last week they expected tens of thousands of people to converge on Kathmandu for protest rallies from September 4.The parties said they would defy a three-week ban on protests starting today and would continue to press the king to revive parliament or appoint their nominee as Prime Minister.
”Only the reinstatement of the parliament can put an end to the confusion and give a solution to the current problem,” Girija Prasad Koirala, chief of the centrist Nepali Congress party, the biggest of the five groups, said in a statement.
Koirala urged King Gyanendra to be“highly responsible and positive” to their demand and restore the disbanded legislature.