January 16, 2006

Nepal imposes night curfew in Kathmandu after raids

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal's royalist government on Monday
imposed a night curfew in Kathmandu, saying it was stepping up
security after Maoist rebels killed 12 policemen in weekend
raids near the city.

"Troops have been given orders to shoot to enforce the
curfew," the government said in an order read over state radio.

The curfew applies for five hours from 11 p.m., and
violators could be arrested and jailed for up to a month. It
was not clear for how many days the curfew would last.

"It is a request from the government to the people in
Kathmandu not to come out except in emergencies," a Home
Ministry spokesman said, adding the move was part of new
security measures in the capital, home to 1.5 million people.

The government, in a separate statement, banned all protest
meetings and rallies in Kathmandu indefinitely from Tuesday.

Earlier, it had urged the country's seven mainstream
political parties to put off a planned pro-democracy rally
scheduled for Friday, saying it could be infiltrated by rebels
to create trouble.

At least 45 people have died across Nepal in a surge of
violence since the Maoists ended a four-month truce on January

The rebels are fighting to topple the monarchy and
establish one-party communist rule. More than 12,500 people
have been killed in the 10-year revolt.

The Maoists have vowed there will be more attacks to stop
next month's elections to 58 municipal councils.

They carried out coordinated attacks at the weekend,
raiding a strategic entry point into the capital at Thankot and
killing 11 policemen there. One policeman died in another
attack near the popular temple town of Bhaktapur.

Analysts expect violence to rise in the run-up to the

"The Maoists want to create more terror and give an
impression that they are powerful and present even in the
capital," said Yubaraj Ghimire, editor of Samay magazine.

"This will set off a chain of violence across the country,
specially with a view to disrupt the February 8 municipal