KATMANDU, Nepal, May 9 (UPI) -- More than 400 people have been killed in two days of fierce fighting between Maoist rebels and Nepalese troops, news reports and other sources said.
Radio Nepal said at least 100 troops and more than 300 Maoist rebels have been killed in the fierce fighting that is still raging in Gam village.
Maoist guerrillas, who lost more than 150 fighters in a crackdown Tuesday, have retaliated in a big way killing more than 100 troops in fierce fighting. Rebels have regained control of Gam village.
The radio also reported that about 300 Maoist rebels and civilians used as human shields could have been killed in the exchange of fire with the troops. Nepalese authorities are yet to make an official announcement, but they admitted that the death toll was high during the fighting.
The latest Maoist offensive took place in Gam village of Rolpa district in western Nepal where Maoist rebels raided an army and police camp. Of the 200 soldiers, only 80 troops have survived the bloody raid and the remaining are feared killed.
The total number of people killed in Rolpa and Doti in the last week has reached over 900, newpalnews.com reported.
Last week, troops attacked a Maoist base in the same district and killed around 450 rebels in a major operation. The rebel base, Gam, is a well-known Maoist stronghold from which they launched their uprising in 1996 to overthrow the constitutional monarchy in the world's only Hindu kingdom.
The casualty figures could not be confirmed independently as journalists do not have access to the region. Authorities imposed a state of emergency in November to crush the 6-year-old uprising in which more than 4,000 people have been killed.
On Tuesday, President George W. Bush promised to help Katmandu in fighting the Maoist uprising.
Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba told reporters after meeting Bush in Washington that "I am very glad, I am very happy, about President Bush being supportive to our campaign against terrorism."
"He has assured he will help in many ways," the Nepali leader said.
Maoists established themselves as a force in the 1960s when King Mahendra came into power and banned all political activities in Nepal, forcing the Maoist rebels took up the course of revolutionary politics.
Located between China and India, landlocked Nepal with a population of 22 million is largely dependent on agriculture, but the productivity here is very low. Maoists control almost 20 of the 75 districts, mostly in the impoverished mountainous region of western Nepal.
(Reported by Harbaksh Singh Nanda in New Delhi, India)