The Nepalese military says a fierce battle between government troops and Maoist rebels has left at least five soldiers and an unknown number of guerillas dead.
A military statement says the clash occurred Friday in the western Kapilvastu district as security forces were trying to clear roadblocks set up by the rebels.
The statement says the rebels, who were hiding in the area, set off bombs targeting the security forces, who retaliated with heavy gunfire.
The Maoists are fighting to topple Nepal's constitutional monarchy and replace it with a communist state.
In an unrelated development, Nepalese authorities released a journalist held in detention by security forces for almost 21 months.
The Federation of Nepalese Journalists says Bhaikaji Ghimire was released Thursday afternoon on the Supreme Court's order.