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24 Dead in Nepal, as Rebels Battle Government Forces


Security in Nepal's capital remained tight Sunday, as police searched an area south of Kathmandu for rebels who launched a deadly pre-dawn attack on government troops.

The military says 17 rebels and at least six security personnel were killed in the fighting, which came as opponents of King Gyanendra's direct rule continued to defy a government crackdown.

Elsewhere, authorities say suspected rebels shot dead a candidate for local office in the southern town of Janakpur. The victim was identified as the local leader of a party that supports King Gyanendra.

Authorities say at least 30 protesters were arrested in the capital Sunday. However, the royal government released former Prime Minister Gijira Prasad Koirala and several other leaders placed under house arrest last week.

Nepal's main political parties vowed to continue the protests and called for a nationwide strike on Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.