Nepalese Police Repulse Maoist Rebels in Attack

At least three policemen and 35 Maoist rebels were killed in an overnight battle as the rebels resumed attacks on Nepalese government forces after a nine-day cease-fire, police said Saturday.

The rebels attacked an Armed Police Force base camp at Kusum (search) village, about 310 miles west of the capital, Katmandu (search), on Friday night. Fighting continued until Saturday morning, police said. At least nine policemen were also injured.

Police reached by telephone said they had recovered 35 rebel bodies and expected to find more while searching the jungles around the battle site.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said police reinforcements were sent to the area, and soldiers had taken control of it. Road blocks have been set up, and authorities were preparing to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the area.

A nine-day cease-fire by the rebels during the Hindu Dasain (search) festival, the biggest festival in this Himalayan kingdom, ended Friday. About 80 percent of Nepal's population are Hindus.

Nearly 400 people have died since the rebels abandoned peace talks and a seven-month cease-fire in August.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting since 1996 to abolish Nepal's constitutional monarchy and set up a communist state. The government has labeled them terrorists. More than 7,400 people have been killed since the insurgency began.