December 26, 2005

Three killed in Nepal fighting as truce nears end

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Two Maoist guerrillas and a soldier
were killed in fierce fighting in western Nepal on Tuesday,
days before a unilateral ceasefire declared by the rebels was
due to expire, the army and insurgents said.

The gunbattle started on Monday after the rebels, who are
campaigning to topple the monarchy, attacked an army patrol in
the Maoist stronghold of Rolpa, 400 km (250 miles) west of

The clash came ahead of the end of the Maoist ceasefire,
due on January 2.

More than 12,500 people have died in the Maoist revolt
aimed at setting up a single-party communist republic in the
Himalayan kingdom, which is wedged between India and China.

In February, King Gyanendra fired the government saying it
had failed to quell the revolt and seized power, triggering a
new political crisis.