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7 killed, 103 prisoners missing in Maoists attack in Nepal

Written by: Staff
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Kathmandu, Mar 6 (UNI) At least seven people were killed and more than 100 prisoners missing in clashes between the security forces and the Maoists in Ilam district near the Indian border in eastern Nepal.

Two Maoist rebels, three security men and two civilians were killed in the clashes that continued for hours last night. ''Nine security personnel- six policemen and three soldiers- were injured in the clash. The condition of four of the injured security men is reported to be critical,'' the Kantipur newspaper quoted officials as saying.

The injured are undergoing treatment at the Bir Hospital, Birendra Police Hospital and the Army Hospital here.

''Two policemen and an army officer were killed in the clashes.

So far two bodies of Maoist guerrillas have been recovered during search operation today'' the newspaper quoted an unnamed security official as saying.

Meanwhile, 16 of the 103 prisoners who had gone missing after the rebel attack have been traced, it reported.

The fighting started when Maoists attacked the district headquarters at around 0930 hrs last night and continued till this morning, it said.

''The casualties on the Maoist side could be much high.

We have reports that the Maoists used a bus to carry their dead and injured fighters. A search operation is on in the Raanke area (border of Ilam), where the rebels are said to have buried the bodies of their dead fighters,'' Kantipur quoted an official as saying.

The rebels have not said anything about the attack and the news could not be independently verified.

More than 13,000 have been killed in the Himalayan kingdom since the insurgency began in 1996.

UNI XC PR DS1652

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