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Maoists kill 29 Nepal soldiers
March 03, 2004 14:53 IST
Last Updated: March 03, 2004 16:43 IST
Over a thousand Maoists attacked a telecommunications tower guarded by security forces in eastern Nepal, killing 29 government troops while losing 10 of their cadres overnight in one of the fiercest gun battles between the two sides in recent times.
Eleven army personnel, 18 policemen and 10 Maoists were killed in the clash in Bhojpur district, 175 km east of Kathmandu, officials said.
The government Wednesday sent additional security forces in two helicopters to the district.
The officials said they have recovered bodies of 10 rebels, but the Maoist casualties could be higher as they usually carry away their fallen cadres. Some soldiers too are missing, they said.
The Maoists also destroyed a commercial bank and partially damaged the district administration office. Telecommunication links with the district were cut off following the attack, the officials said.
The rebels have been fighting since February 1996 to replace Nepal's monarchy with a Communist state. The insurgency has so far claimed over 8,500 lives.