Kathmandu, Oct. 11 (Reuters): At least 38 people, including 35 Maoist rebels, were killed when the guerrillas attacked a police post in western Nepal, ending a Hindu festival truce, a police official said today.
He said the Maoists, fighting to replace the constitutional monarchy with a communist republic, bombed the Armed Police Force base at Kusum, 450 km west of Kathmandu, late yesterday, triggering a fierce exchange of fire. Three policemen were also killed in the gunbattle, he said.
The incident marked the end of a nine-day ceasefire announced by the rebels during the Hindu festival of Dussehra that concluded yesterday.
“We have recovered 35 bodies (of the Maoists) from the site and more bodies have been buried by them (the rebels) near a river,” police official Shiva Raj Gauli said by phone after a visit to the site. Another official said the police have also recovered automatic weapons and ammunition.
“I was woken up by sounds of gunshots,” said 18-year-old resident Khim Bahadur Sen, who runs a public telephone call kiosk near Kusum. “I was so frightened that I could not sleep the entire night,” he said by telephone. “Unexploded bombs, improvised explosive devices, blood stains, empty alcohol bottles and rice littered the site of the overnight gunbattle that lasted for more than six hours,” said a local photographer.