Nepal: Maoists attack capital; Buddhists march for peace

Maoist guerrillas bombed two police stations and a municipal office on the outskirts of Kathmandu Jan. 14, killing at least 11 officers in the first attacks in the capital region since the rebels ended their cease-fire on Jan. 2. Hours earlier, 16 guerillas and a government soldier were killed in a firefight in Syangja, a Maoist stronghold 140 miles west of Kathmandu. Two days earlier, 10 rebels were killed in the same area, the army said.

The 11 police officers who lost thier lives were all killed in one blast at Thankot, about six miles from the capital, the police said. No information was available on casualties from the blasts at the second police station, near the temple town of Bhaktapur, or at the municipal office in Patan.

The rebels ended their four-month truce saying the government had not matched it. They have vowed to disrupt the Feb. 8 elections for 58 municipal councils and pledge to spread their nearly 10-year-old guerilla war to Kathmandu and other cities. (Reuters, Jan. 15)

The new attacks came as thousands of Nepalese dressed in ethnic costumes participated in a peace march in Kathmandu. About 20,000 people participated in the hour-long Buddha Puja Peace March, organized by Dhime Pucha, an ethnic organization. Participants visited 150 Buddhist shrines in the core area of the capital, praying for peace and offering rice, coins and clothes. A government minister made a brief appearance at one temple. (PTI, Jan. 14)

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