Maoist Rebels Overrun Nepal
2002, cyberNepal, Inc
Maoist rebels have overrun a Nepal army
and police base after military helicopters launched a massive
attack on a suspected guerrilla training camp in the west of the
The overnight rebel attack on a security
post in western Nepal killed more than 100 soldiers and Maoist
rebels early Wednesday, according to police and army sources.
The exact number of casualties on both
sides could not be confirmed because communication with the remote
area has been cut.
The latest attack came as the Nepalese
prime minister was in the United States seeking financial and
military support in suppressing the Maoists.
While there are no confirmed figures of
how many are dead or injured, Nepalese officers on the scene were
quoted as saying dozens of guerrillas and security forces have
been killed so far.
"The raid came about midnight and
we seem to have lost heavily," an officer, who asked not
to be named, told Reuters news service.
At least 130 police were stationed in
Gam in the Rolpa district, where the attack occurred.
Another four policemen and 14 rebels died
in separate fighting at Chainpur, 400 kilometers (250 miles) east
of the capital, Kathmandu, late on Tuesday.
The latest bloodshed comes as U.S. President
George W. Bush pledged to help the Himalayan kingdom crush its
long and bloody rebellion. Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur
Deuba met Bush in Washington Wednesday to discuss the issue.
"I am very glad, I am very happy,
about President Bush (being) supportive to our campaign against
terrorism," Deuba said after the meeting.
"He has assured he will help in many
"Nepal is fighting a Maoist rebellion,
and Nepal is an example, again, of a democracy, and the United
States is committed to helping Nepal," White House spokesman
Ari Fleischer said Tuesday.
Neither side said what help Bush might
offer, but in the past Nepal has sought money, arms, ammunition
and helicopters to combat Maoists fighting to establish communist
rule in a six-year conflict that has claimed more than 4,000 lives.
The Bush administration has asked Congress to approve $20 million
to help Nepal fight the rebels and combat poverty, wire services
Speaking to The Kathmandu Post just hours
before the talks, Deuba had said that he and all of Nepal was
honored by the U.S. gesture.
"The world's only superpower has
been at the forefront in the current fight against terrorism,
building a global coalition against terrorism," Deuba said.
"We have also suffered from terror
campaigns in our country."
Nepal's army last week launched a huge
air and ground assault on a suspected Maoist training camp on
a mountain in another part of western Nepal, after receiving information
that about 1,500 Maoist rebels had assembled in the area.
The rebels intensified their campaign after last June's palace
massacre in which popular king Birendra and most other members
of the royal family were killed by Crown Prince Dipendra, who
later shot himself to death.
Nepal has given its army sweeping powers
under a state of emergency to crush the guerrillas since they
walked out of peace talks in November.
The Maoists offered to renew the talks
last week but Deuba rejected this and demanded they surrender.
The violence has wrecked the aid-dependent
economy and driven away tourists, who are a key source of income
to the picturesque nation that is home to Mount Everest and draws
thousands of backpackers and mountain climbers each year.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York
and Washington, Bush has offered help to a string of nations,
including Georgia, the Philippines and Yemen, to fight terrorism.