SINDHUPALCHOWK: Cadres of Unified CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML clashed in Jhagajholi VDC-3 this afternoon. Bullets had been fired and the area remained tense till late evening.

Police said some cadres were injured on both sides but added their exact number could not be ascertained. According to Bal Gopal Chaudhari, an eyewitness, the clash ensued when the Maoist cadres, who were having a meal on the roadside, were fired from a vehicle used by CPN-UML central member Keshab Devkota and Youth Federation Nepal (YFN) chairman Mahesh Basnet. Maoist cadres later said they found a pistol and its bullets in the vehicle used by the duo during their search.

Suraj Bahadur Syangtan, district secretary, UCPN-Maoist, claimed that UML cadres had shot at the Maoist activists. Organising a press conference in Jhagajholi in the evening, he said four UML cadres and their weapon had been handed over to the police. Police said they had detained four persons with a pistol and some homemade weapons.

CPN-UML activists said the Maoist cadres had abducted four of their party activists, claiming that the former rebels had broken a leg of YFN central member Sher Bahadur Tamang. CPN-UML district leader Khadga Bahadur Khatri said the Maoists had assaulted their party leader who had reached the area to participate in a regional convention of the party.

Sindhuli Chief District Officer Kailashnath Kharel confirmed that the cadres of the two parties had clashed in Jhagajholi and that bullets had been fired in the incident. "It is yet to be confirmed who opened the fire,'' he said, adding that additional security personnel had been deployed in the area.

The incident site is 70 kilometres north of the district headquarters on the border of Kavre and Ramechhap districts.