Tuesday, November 27, 2001

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) Nepal, plunged into a state of emergency after a rash of deadly guerrilla attacks, yesterday sent soldiers in pursuit of Maoist rebels across the Himalayan kingdom.

The rebels, who have been fighting for almost six years to oust Nepal’s monarchy and to install a socialist state, broke a 4-month-old cease-fire with a series of attacks. The raids have killed 76 soldiers, police officers and government officials since Friday.

Twenty-eight persons were killed Sunday night in Solukhumbu, 125 miles north of Katmandu, said Interior Security Minister Khum Bahadur Khadka.

The rebels also suffered heavy casualties, Mr. Khadka said.

Yesterday, King Gyanendra accepted a Cabinet recommendation and declared a state of emergency, allowing the government to suspend civil liberties and send soldiers to fight the rebels.

In the past, the military which includes the highly regarded Gurkha soldiers has been limited to defending Nepal from foreign attack.

Airports and borders were to remain open and government offices to function as normal, but security was tightened across the nation, Mr. Khadka said.

The emergency measures restrict freedom of the press, as well as freedom of assembly, expression and movement. Suspects can be detained for three weeks without charges, the palace said.

The military and police were being mobilized to comb rebel hide-outs, concentrated mostly in the remote hills of midwestern Nepal.

The Maoist guerrillas fashion themselves after Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas and draw their name from China’s revolutionary communist leader Mao Tse-tung.

Their insurgency, which began in 1996, has claimed the lives of more than 1,800.

On Wednesday, the rebel leader known as Prachanda called off peace talks, saying attempts at an agreement had failed after the government rejected his demand for a new constitution.

The Maoists also blame King Gyanendra for the June 1 royal massacre that killed the previous king and eight other royal family members. An official investigation found that Crown Prince Dipendra shot and killed his parents and other relatives.

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