Maoist rebels abducted at least five policemen patrolling a highway in southern Nepal, police said Wednesday.
The policemen were taken captive Tuesday night from Bhumahi, about 250 kilometers (160 miles) southwest of the capital, Katmandu, local police official Ramesh Subedi said by telephone. All five policemen were carrying arms, he said.
In a statement, the Home Ministry urged the rebels to free the five policemen.
The communist rebels, who have fought government forces since 1996, are no longer outlawed and the new government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is trying to disarm them and have them join the political mainstream.
The rebels and the army are observing a cease-fire but sporadic militant attacks have continued, reports the AP.