Suspected Maoist rebels fired guns at an army helicopter as it flew low over a known militant stronghold in west Nepal, causing damage to the aircraft but no casualties, the army said Wednesday. The Royal Nepalese Army helicopter was carrying supplies for troops when it came under attack on Tuesday near a remote mountain village in Salyan district, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of capital, Katmandu, the army said in a statement.
The army blamed Maoist rebels for the attack. There was no immediate reaction from the rebels.
The rebels declared a unilateral cease-fire on Sept. 3 in hopes of reviving peace talks, saying they would not attack any military or civilian targets for three months but that they would continue defending their positions. They also have continued to block highways, extort money, and kidnap villagers for indoctrination sessions.
Rebel violence has escalated since King Gyanendra seized absolute control of the government in February, a measure he said was necessary to quell the communist insurgency, which has left some 12,000 dead.
The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting since 1996 in an attempt to topple Nepal's monarchy, reports the AP. I.L.