Communist rebels in Nepal kill two alleged robbers

Communist rebels beat to death two alleged robbers in a vigilante execution in southern Nepal despite their pledge to halt all violence for three months, an official said Thursday.

The two men were accused of robbing residents of Ganjabhawanipur, a village in an area that has a strong rebel presence about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital, Katmandu.

The rebels apprehended the men and brought them before villagers who endorsed a death sentence for the alleged robbers, and then the insurgents beat the men to death on Wednesday, said Santaraj Subedi, the chief government administrator in the area.

Police were sent Thursday to the village to investigate the killings, Subedi said.

The rebels last week declared a three-month, unilateral cease-fire, saying they would defend their positions only and launch no attacks on the government or civilians in an effort to foster peace.

The government reciprocated on Wednesday with its own cease-fire pledge and said it was dropping all charges of terrorism against the rebels, allowing them to move freely.

The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, began their violent campaign to replace the monarchy with a communist state in 1996. The insurgency has left more than 13,000 dead, reports the AP.

I.L.