Rebels kill scores in Nepal police attacks
KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Suspected Maoist rebels have killed at least 34 policemen in a string of attacks on security posts across Nepal.
The rebels raided seven police stations on Friday night, killing the policemen and abducting dozens of others in three Nepalese districts, said CNN's Suman Pradhan in Kathmandu.
The attacks, which came on the day that Nepal was marking the 55th birthday of its newly-crowned King Gyanendra, is the biggest surge of violence in the troubled Himalayan kingdom since last month's massacre of almost the entire royal family by the crown prince.
Officials are blaming Friday's attacks on suspected members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), who are fighting against the country's constitutional monarchy.
While a panel blamed the palace massacre on crown prince Dipendra, who was high on drugs and alcohol, the Maoist group has repeatedly rejected the official explanation, saying the killings were a conspiracy by "imperialist and expansionist" forces.
The Maoist rebels have stepped up their violent campaign to topple the monarchy in the wake of the palace killings.
Over the past week the rebels have planted bombs and "mock bombs" in the capital city of Kathmandu and launched raids on police stations in western Nepal, catching the government off guard.
Nepali police suspect the rebels of being behind a bomb explosion that took place on Wednesday near the homes of Prime Minster Girija Prasad Koirala and the Chief Justice of Nepal's Supreme Court, Keshav Prasad Upadhyaya, who headed last month's investigation into the palace killings.
About 1,700 people have been killed since the Maoist rebellion started five years ago.
In the fresh bout of attacks, police official Niraj Pun told Reuters that 21 police officers were killed at Bichour in Lamjung district, 150 km (93 miles) west of Kathmandu.
Two policemen were gunned down at Wami Taxar in Gulmi district in western Nepal.
Scores of other policemen were also killed at Taruka in Nuwakot, 100 km (62 miles) northeast of the national capital, district official Ram Mani Pokharel said.
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