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Maoists Abduct 220 Villagers in Western Nepal

Military officials in Nepal say Maoist rebels have abducted at least 220 villagers from several remote mountainous districts in the western part of the country.

The officials say that on July 31, the rebels took away more than 150 women from four villages in the Bajura district, and 70 people from several villages in neighboring Accham district.

The condition and whereabouts of the villagers are unknown and the motive remains unclear. But Maoist rebels are known to take hundreds of villagers to their rallies and possibly try to recruit them to fight government troops.

The rebels have been fighting since 1996 to replace the constitutional monarchy in the world's only Hindu kingdom with a communist state. More than 11,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.