KATMANDU, Nepal, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Nepalese troops have shot and killed at least 37 Maoist rebels in separate shootouts on a day when a strike called by guerrillas virtually shut down the capital Katmandu on Saturday.
Nepalese authorities have stepped up their fight against the Maoists rebels who massacred 128 troops earlier this week.
At least 15 Maoist guerrillas were killed in encounters in Vidyapur in Surkhet district when security forces intensified their search to locate rebels involved in last week's attack in Achham district.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Bhola Silwal said at least 13 armed rebels were killed along the border between Kalikot and Achham districts.
At least nine rebels were killed in separate encounters with police.
"Maoists will be crushed if all the people, political parties and the government united to fight the terrorists," said Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
"We should not be discouraged by a single defeat," Deuba was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Meanwhile, shops remained closed and streets were deserted across Katmandu on the second day of the strike enforced by the rebels to mark the sixth anniversary of the launch of their "people's war."
Maoist rebels are fighting to replace the Himalayan Hindu kingdom's monarchy with a one-party Communist government.
More than 2,800 people have been killed in the six years since the rebellion began.