Sat Jan 14, 4:29 PM ET
KATHMANDU (AFP) - Fourteen policemen were killed in a series of bomb attacks by suspected Maoist rebels on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital, police said.
Five separate attacks began on municipal and police targets in the Kathmandu valley at around 5:25 pm local time (1140 GMT).
Eleven officers were killed in a bomb blast at a police station south of Kathmandu while another three were killed in the capital’s eastern outskirts, police said, adding that the three other blasts caused no casualties.
No rebel casualties were reported in the larger incident at Thankot, the main entry point to the Kathmandu Valley south of the capital.
Three bombs were hurled into the dining room of the police station in Thankot, and a 25-minute firefight between police and rebels followed the bomb blasts, police said at the scene.
Another three police were wounded in the blast at the Dadhikot checkpost in Bhaktapur, east of Kathmandu, officials said.
There was heavy security in place around the police station, with armed police patrolling the area. Checkpoints were set up on major roads in the capital and roads around the police headquarters in Kathmandu were blocked.
Police had closed off the road at least 10 kilometres (six miles) from the checkpoint and were carrying out search operations, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
Earlier Saturday, the army said that 16 Maoist rebels and one soldier had been killed in clashes in Syangja, western Nepal.
"The troops also recovered weapons, explosives and Maoist logistics from the clash site," said an army official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
The bomb blasts around the capital Saturday marked the first attacks in Kathmandu since King Gyanendra sacked the government and took total control in February 2005.
The rebels called off a four-month unilateral ceasefire early this month, claiming that the army had not matched the truce, and that it would be "suicidal" for them to extend the ceasefire.
After the end of the Maoist truce on January 2, local media reported that the Maoists intended to bring their "people’s war" to the capital, and the attacks around Kathmandu Saturday appeared to confirm this.
The insurgents have been fighting for a communist republic in Nepal since 1996. The uprising has already claimed more than 12,000 lives.
Sicce the end of the unilateral Maoist ceasefire early this month, 48 rebels, police, soldiers and civilians have been killed, and 17 wounded.