Curfew in Nepal town after Maoists go on rampage
Apr 3, 2007 - 10:57:30 AM

Kathmandu, April 3 - Curfew was clamped in a remote town in Nepal after a backlash against Maoist attacks resulted in locals attacking the guerrillas.

Manma town in Kalikot district in farwestern Nepal remained tense after Maoist cadres attacked local leaders of two major parties, triggering a reprisal.

To bring the situation under control, the district authorities imposed 12-hour curfew in Manma from 7 p.m. Monday.

On Saturday night, just hours before the rebels joined the new interim government, guerrilla cadres assaulted 12 political activists, including supporters of the Nepali Congress, the largest party in the ruling alliance, and Nepali Congress-Democratic of deposed premier Sher Bahadur Deuba, Nepal's state media reported Tuesday.

Condemning the attacks, the Nepali Congress-Democratic said dagger-wielding Maoists had attacked two of its members at night in Gela village while they were sleeping.

As news of the attacks spread, enraged locals laid siege to the Maoist office, vandalising it and setting fire to the furniture.

The violence comes even as the US government expressed doubts about the Maoists' commitment to peace.

Though the rebels joined the government Sunday with five strong ministries in the 22-member cabinet, the US, while hailing the step, also said the Maoists, 'who have refused to abandon violence -, must finally do so'.

Nepal's new government Monday moved to beef up security before the June 20 election, beginning a crackdown on illegal arms owners.

The home ministry asked individuals and groups owning illegal weapons to hand them over to the government within a week or face action.

The home ministry said action would also be taken against people making public display of weapons.

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