Maoist rebels abduct 60 students in Nepal

Suspected Maoist rebels have abducted 60 students from a secondary school in northwest Nepal, according to police.

The students were abducted Wednesday from Saraswati Secondary School in Dolpa district, 270 miles northwest of Kathmandu, and forcibly marched to an undisclosed location for indoctrination.

"The Maoists selected 60 sturdy looking boys and girls of grades six to 10 and abducted them," police said after a teacher at the school reached the district headquarters Dunai on Thursday.

The rebels regularly abduct students for indoctrination sessions and normally release them several days later.

Separately, a district security officer who declined to be named, said the rebels destroyed three government buildings with explosives in southwest Nepal Tuesday after evacuating workers.

"The rebels had forced the staff to leave and set off the explosive devices destroying the offices," the official said from the district of Doti, 425 kilometres southwest of the capital Kathmandu.

The rebels announced a unilateral ceasefire in early September aimed at winning support from political parties for a joint challenge to the king.

King Gyanendra sacked a four-party government in February for failing to tackle the Maoist rebellion that has claimed about 12,000 lives since 1996.

In August the parties said they would hold talks with the Maoists on forming a broad front against Gyanendra provided the rebels stop killing civilians, the AFP reports.

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