8 soldiers, 1 rebel killed in Nepal during last fighting

Communist rebels ambushed an army patrol in Nepal on Monday, sparking a clash that killed at least eight soldiers and an insurgent, while a booby trap killed two civilians, officials said.

The latest violence in Nepal's decade-old insurgency came a day after rebels ended a highway blockade that had crippled life across the country for six days.

On Monday, buses carried thousands of travelers who'd been stranded and trucks hauled much-needed fuel, food and supplies into the capital,Katmandu.

The ambush took place near a central Nepal army camp at Bhakundebeshi, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Katmandu. The soldiers had been on patrol to investigate suspicions that rebels had blocked the camp's water supply, security officials said.

The officials, who asked not be identified because of policy, said rebels hiding on the roadside set off an explosion and then fired on the soldiers, killing at least eight.

One rebel was confirmed killed in the ensuing gunbattle, the officials said.

Reinforcements were sent to the area and soldiers combed the mountain terrain to search for the attackers.

Separately, two civilians were killed Monday as they removed piles of stones and sacks that had been used to block an east-west highway at Morang, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) southeast of Katmandu.

As they worked, the men triggered a booby trap that exploded, killing both.

At the Nagdhunga checkpoint onto the Prithvi highway, the main route out of Katmandu, hundreds of vehicles passed through, taking passengers who had been stranded since the blockade began March 14.

Nepal has no railroads, and trucks haul virtually all fuel, food and other supplies, reports the AP.


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