Himalayan News Service

Nepalgunj, June 24:

“Sofe and I had gone for a stroll across the river but I lost him”, said Santosh Nepali, the boy injured in the encounter between security forces and Maoists from his hospital bed in Bheri Zonal Hospital. “We were walking on the hill and a security patrol team was behind us. Suddenly, the firing started from the top of the hill. Police also opened fire” , Nepali said.

He added, “We were running on the suspension bridge when a bullet hit my leg. I don’t know where Sofe was hit”. Santosh and Sange Nepali (Sofe) of Mastamandu village development committee-1 of Achham district had gone for a walk when they were caught in the encounter.

He did not know whose bullet hit him. The bullet hit him on his back.

The encounter that lasted for three hours claimed two security personnel and one elderly man besides Nepali. Sange was a class IV student of Jana Kalyam Secondary School, Sanfebagar, whereas Santosh had recently dropped out of the school. Santosh said, “When the firing started we ran to an empty home and locked the door. There, Sofe collapsed. After the encounter police came to take us. Sofe died before reaching the helicopter”. Santosh’s mother Nira is with him in the hospital but his father does not know about the incident yet. Nira requested media persons to inform her husband about his son’s injury. Armed policeman Ram Bahadur Chaudhary of Hasuliya-6, Kailali said Maoists had attacked them from the hilltop as they were heading west of the bazaar. According to him, the encounter started when Maoists fired at their patrol team near the bridge of Budi Gandaki.