Associated Press WriterKATMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- Nepal's king declared a state of emergency Monday after weekend attacks by rebels killed at least 76 soldiers and police, the palace said.
King Gyanendra accepted a Cabinet recommendation that allows the government to deploy the army for the first time in hunting down Maoist rebels fighting to establish a socialist state since 1996. The military had been charged solely with defending the country from foreign attack and the police were used to fight the rebels.
The recommendation comes in the wake of a devastating rebel attack Sunday night that killed five soldiers, 28 police officers and the chief district officer in Solukhumbu, 125 miles north of Katmandu, Interior Security Minister Khum Bahadur Khadka said.
The rebels also suffered heavy casualties in the attack, Khadka said.
The total number of security forces and government officials killed has climbed to 76 since Friday, when the rebels, fighting for a socialist republic in Nepal, broke a four-month cease-fire and launched attacks across the Himalayan kingdom.