Nepal says its army has repelled a major attack by Maoist rebels at a military base in the western part of the country, killing at least 50 insurgents.

A military statement says the attack on the base in Rukum district, a rebel stronghold 400 kilometers west of Kathmandu, began late Thursday and continued into the early hours of Friday.

Government officials say at least eight soldiers were wounded, three of them critically.  They say more insurgents are believed to be in the mountainous area.

Meanwhile, police in Kathmandu detained more than 100 demonstrators protesting King Gyanendra's seizure of absolute power two months ago.

Witnesses say the arrests took place in the city's central New Road district as the protesters chanted anti-monarchy slogans and demanded the restoration of democracy.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.