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Nepal Maoists Release 8 of 11 Kidnapped Soldiers


Maoist rebels in Nepal have released eight of 11 soldiers who they kidnapped Thursday despite declaring a three-month ceasefire.

The soldiers were released Saturday about 500 kilometers east of the capital Kathmandu.

There is no word on the whereabouts of the other three soldiers.

Officials said the guerillas, who have limited communications, might have been unaware of the ceasefire when they abducted the soldiers.

The rebels declared the ceasefire Thursday after Nepal's prime minister promised to draw up a new constitution and to redefine the role of the monarchy. Prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala Friday also promised to call elections for the constitutional assembly.

In their first parliamentary session in four years, lawmakers agreed to discuss the proposal Sunday. They also agreed to discuss whether to hold talks with the Maoist rebels and declare a ceasefire.

Last February, the king declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government due to what he said was a lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency. The king agreed to reinstate parliament Monday after weeks of anti-monarchy demonstrations by tens of thousands of protesters.

The Maoist rebels have been fighting for 10 years to establish a communist state. At least 11,000 people have been killed in attacks and violent clashes during that time.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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