Blasts rock Nepalgunj

Nepalgunj, February 3:

The Maoists detonated several powerful bombs at different places in Nepalgunj this evening. Exchange of fire between the Maoists and security forces were also reported today.

The security forces retaliated after the Maoists opened fire at the Bheri Zonal Police Office, the Regional Police Training Centre and the Deependra Police Hospital at around 7:30 pm this evening. The firing continued till 9 pm, locals said.

Sounds of gunfire could be heard coming from the directions of the Zonal Police Office, the Police Training Centre, the Deependra Police Hospital, the Nepal Rastra Bank and the Phultekra Police Post, they said.

The Maoists have also detonated powerful bombs at Rajha Chowk in front of the Nepalgunj Airport and at Dhambojhi Chowk at around 8:30 pm today. The Public Revenue Office incurred some damage in the Maoist firing. Though daily curfew has been clamped down in Nepalgunj from 7 pm till 4 am, the number of Maoist blasts and attacks have not gone down.

Similarly, over a dozen houses of civilians, including that of the general secretary of Communist Party of Nepal (Marxists), Madhav Gyawali, were caught in crossfire between the security forces and the Maoists in Nepalgunj last night.

The cross firing had started after the Maoists opened fire at the field ambulance of the Royal Nepalese Army at Charbahini and the City Police Office. No casualty has been reported.

The stray bullets hit the houses of Gyawali, Ram Chandra Gupta, Prakash Acharya and Dharma Raj Sharma, among others, and also riddled the Disabled Children’s’ Hospital situated at Bhrikutinagar, Nepalgunj-13. Many walls of these buildings remain dotted with bullets.

Local residents claimed the security forces for the bullets in their houses. No commoners could have ventured out during curfew hours, they said.

Gyawali said: “The firing continued for the whole night. We sat up in the middle room of the house for the whole night.” “The security forces panicked and started shooting indiscriminately. There wasn’t any kind of attack,” he added.

Earlier, three security men and four Maoists were killed during the Maoists attack on the City Police Office a few days ago. However, no houses in the area were damaged in that attack.

Clashes in Rautahat, Bardiya

Rautahat: Security forces have foiled the Maoist attack on the Joint Security Base Camp at Chandranigahpur of Rautahat yesterday night.Around 500 Maoists had attacked the camp from two directions at 7:45 pm yesterday, a district-based security source said. The security forces and Maoists exchanged fire for around 45 minutes after which the Maoists fled

to the nearby jungle, the source said.

No casualty has been reported on the side of the security forces, however sources indicate that some Maoists may have been killed in the incident.

Security forces had used Very Light during the attack, which Maoists had mistaken for light from a Night Vision Helicopter and fled.

Two socket bombs, some components of .303 rifle and a pipe bomb were recovered from the site, an official at Joint Security Base Camp, said.

Separately, the security forces defused a time-bomb planted by the Maoists near a drug store at Chandranigahpur this morning.

The security forces have been searching the jungles of Chandranigahpur for the Maoists, SP of District Police Office, Keshav Prasad Adhikari, said. He said life in the area has normalised.

A report from Nepalgujn said the Maoists and the security forces have clashed in Bardiya this afternoon. The clash ensued after the Maoists attacked a patrol team of the security personnel at Dhobighat, five km from the district headquarter. The Maoists launched their attack at the security men from across the Babai river.

The Maoists’ scheduled programme at Sanoshree VDC in Bardiya has also been disrupted after the clash. Media persons of Banke and Bardiya districts had been asked to attend the programme. — HNS