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Nepal Landmine Kills 10 Government Soldiers, Maoist Rebels Blamed - 2003-11-03

Authorities in Nepal say 10 government soldiers have been killed and six others wounded, when their vehicle struck a landmine planted by suspected Maoist rebels.

Officials say the army convoy was returning from patrolling an area near the Indian border about 200 kilometers south of Kathmandu, when their truck passed over the explosive Sunday.

Five soldiers were killed instantly, and officials said five others died while being treated for their wounds. Six soldiers were airlifted to Kathmandu and remain hospitalized.

Maoists have been fighting since 1996 to topple the Himalayan kingdom's constitutional monarchy and establish a communist state. More than seven thousand people have been killed in the fighting.

Rebels ended a seven-month ceasefire and resumed attacks in late August, after the government refused to redraft the country's constitution.