Nepal: September 9, 2002


Nepal's rebels launched their deadliest assault since the government lifted a state of emergency two weeks ago. A unknown number of Maoist rebels attacked a Nepalese security post on the night of 8 September, near the town of Sandikharta (300 km from Kathmandu). The garrison of 64 soldiers and two police stations with 160 cops in the city's center was caught by surprise, but the soldiers reacted appropriately. The rebels assaulted the police station and army base, then burned down other government offices (including the district administration offices).

A violent battle developed, which carried on throughout the whole night, leaving an imprecise number of military soldiers dead or wounded. Various sources claimed that there were 85 casualties. Local police sources spoke of about 30 dead, while other western news agencies reported at least 40 policemen and 17 soldiers killed. 

This incident came a day after rebels attacked a remote mountain outpost southeast of the capital, killing at least 49 police officers. Hundreds of rebels attacked the police post in Bhiman (about 160 kilometers southeast of Katmandu) a little after midnight on 8 September. The rebels first knocked down the communications building (which housed a radio set) and killed the highest ranking official in the first 30 minutes, before launching a full-scale attack on the police post. During the ensuing three-hour gun battle, the rebels simultaneously attacked the post from all sides. 
Government reinforcements from the district headquarters 18 kilometers away only reached the village by morning because rebels had blocked the roads. Only two rebel bodies were found, but the authorities expected to recover more.

Meanwhile, soldiers launched a counterattack on the 9th near Sandhikhara against a group of rebels fleeing Sandhikhara. - Adam Geibel


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