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Soldiers Kill 76 Rebels in Nepal

February 25, 2002

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KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) _ Soldiers killed 76 rebels in a massive weekend strike in Nepal’s mountainous midwest where the communist guerrillas staged their deadliest attack ever a week ago, the military said Monday.

The deaths brought the toll on both sides over the past nine days of fighting to 342, the military said.

The military killed 67 rebels Saturday night in Kalikot, about 400 miles west of Nepal’s capital Katmandu, said Defense Ministry spokesman Bhola Silwal. In other operations during the weekend, soldiers killed nine rebels, he said.

Kalikot is where the rebels killed 137 soldiers and policemen on Feb. 17 in the bloodiest attack since the rebels began fighting in 1996 to abolish the constitutional monarchy in this Himalayan kingdom.

The military said 129 combatants from both sides were killed in fighting last week, bringing the death toll to 342.

Following the Feb. 17 rebel assault, Nepal’s government renewed a state of emergency that was imposed in November after the rebels broke off peace talks.

More than 2,600 people have been killed since the rebels, who draw their inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Tse-tung, began fighting to create a communist state.

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