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Tourists rescued in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- British Embassy staff in Nepal have rescued 26 tourists caught up in the riots sparked by the massacre of the country's royal family.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said the tourists -- 23 Britons, two Canadians and one Bengali -- had become stranded at Kathmandu airport.

He told CNN: "A curfew had been imposed from 5pm on Monday to 5am on Tuesday and I understand they were stranded at the airport where all traffic in and out has been stopped.

"Four of our embassy staff, led by Deputy head of mission Andrew Mitchell, and including the consul and vice-consul, got together a convoy of four vehicles to go and collect them."

Ronald Nash, Britain's Ambassador to Nepal, told the Press Association: "The police were going bring them out but it would have taken around two or three hours, so we sent up a little convoy of Land Rovers."

The convoy was given a Nepalese police escort to and from the airport during the rescue which took place during the curfew.

The Foreign Office spokesman said: "No one was injured although I know they passed some barricades and burning tyres."

Two Gurkhas returning from a reunion in the UK were also evacuated from the airport by fellow soldiers but had their vehicle stoned by rioters.

Britain has issued a warning advising travellers not to go to Nepal. Up to 100 Britons are believed to be in the region.

The tourists were taken to a nearby guest house where they had already booked accommodation, the spokesman said.

Monday's riots were sparked by the crowning of Prince Gyanendra, Nepal's third king in three days following the palace bloodbath.

The announcement naming Prince Gyanendra as king came just hours after the death of the prince's nephew, King Dipendra Bir Bikram, who government sources said carried out the shooting before turning the gun on himself .

Dipendra, 29, who died following two days in a coma and on life support, was proclaimed king in the aftermath of the shootings in which his father, King Birendra, was among the victims.

• Foreign & Commonwealth Office - Home
• British Embassy in Nepal

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