Syangja, January 15:

The offensive against Maoists in different parts of Syangja district that began on Wednesday is going on, a security source said.

During the operation, a civilian, arrested by the security forces died in the custody, locals said. Railbahadur Gurung of Manakamana-5, Sapaude, who was arrested for allegedly assisting Maoists by cooking their food, died in custody.

A security source said at least three dozen Maoists have been killed during the aerial and land operation that continued today. Security forces from Syangja, Pokhara and Kathmandu are involved in the operation in Majhkot Shivalaya, Banethok Deurali, Manakamana, Gamdanda, lower and upper Baleu, Surung, Methabhurung, Chinnebas, Sapaude and areas of Kusumbhanjyang.

Villagers who reached the district headquarters after fleeing the villages said security personnel and civilians have also been killed during the operation.

They said civilians were killed in Kichanas, Chitrebhanjyang and Manakamana. “With the operation going on, there is no chance of the villagers getting out. Hence there is no confirmation of the number of civilian casualties,” said the villagers. They said many houses have been burnt and bullets and bombs have riddled other houses and that there is an undeclared curfew in the villages.