Communist rebels attack eastern Nepal town

Communist rebels attacked security bases in a mountain town in eastern Nepal, sparking battles that killed at least six people and left several police officers wounded, officials said Monday.

Hundreds of rebels mounted the attack on Illam overnight, blocking the only highway to the town before attacking the bases and bombing several government buildings, said the area's head administrative official, Shyam Krishna Singh.

The Royal Nepalese Army headquarters in Katmandu said one army officer and a policeman were killed in the attack at Illam, about 550 kilometers (345 miles) east of the capital, Katmandu.

The army said they recovered the bodies of two rebels and two civilians killed in a gunbattle that followed the attack.

The army official, who cannot be named under government policy, said military helicopters equipped with night-vision capabilities reached the site around 2 a.m. local time and fired on the attackers.

The rebels fled before dawn, taking wounded and dead fighters with them, the official said.

At least 13 policemen were wounded and were flown to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The rebels also attacked the town jail and managed to free several inmates, including suspected rebels, a local official said on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals by the rebels.

There were 109 inmates in the jail, including 25 who were suspected of being rebels, the official said, reports the AP.


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