Maoist, army overnight clashes leaves 20 dead in Nepal

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Map of Nepal
Demonstrators in Khatmandu (File photo)

The Nepali army has reported that six security forces and 17 Maoist rebels are now dead following an attack on Saturday night. Security forces have been detaining scores of protesters since fresh demonstrations began in Nepal's capital city of Kathmandu on Friday. Five opposition leaders are also reported to be under house arrest in a preemptive move to curb rallies. The government reports that nearly 200 people were taken into custody. The claim is disputed by the opposition which puts the number much higher.

Supporters of the opposition have called for a boycott of local elections claiming them to be undemocratic and that they would only entrench the king's rule. An alliance of seven parties is demanding that King Gyanendra give up the absolute power he seized last year.