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More police die in Nepal uprising

KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Four police and their driver have been killed in an ambush, taking the death toll from a weekend uprising by Maoists in Nepal to more than 40.

The series of attacks brought to an end a four-month cease-fire and triggered an emergency meeting to orchestrate a government response.

In the latest ambush, a truck carrying police hit a landmine then was intercepted by rebels at a small village called Kalidamar in Surkhet district, 500 km (312 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu. .

Deputy Inspector General of Police Amar Singh Shah said five men were killed "on the spot" and five other police were wounded.

There were 46 people on the truck, mostly police from the new Armed Police Force, a paramilitary unit set up specifically to fight the Maoists.

The raid came a day after rebels launched attacks in more than a dozen of Nepal's 75 districts, killing at least 40 people -- including 23 policemen, 14 soldiers and three civilians.

The bloodiest battle occurred in the districts of Dang and Syangja, both west of Kathmandu.

Home Minister Khum Bahadur Khadka said Saturday the government believes "70 to 80" rebels also may have died in the battle.

Khadka said the rebels looted 99 self-loading rifles from the army, and took cash and jewelry worth more than $2 million from local banks in Dang and Syangja.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's governing Nepali Congress party held an emergency session Sunday to decide whether to declare the Maoists "terrorists," a move that would allow emergency rule in some of the worst-affected districts.

The meeting ended without a decision and was to continue Monday.

But spokesman Arjun Narsingh K.C. said the party had given the government a mandate "to do as necessary, remaining within the bounds of the constitution," to fight the rebels.

In a statement late Saturday, the Defense Ministry said it had ordered the army to deploy in Dang district, the hardest-hit area in Friday night's rebel attacks.

The Maoist rebellion began in early 1996 in some remote areas in Nepal's backward villages where peasants lead a difficult life and are said to widely suffer feudal discrimination at the hands of landowners.

More than 1,800 people including police and guerrillas have been killed since then.


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