( dpa )- Groups of armed men attacked several police posts in east Nepal making off with weapons and a large cache of ammunition, local media reports said Tuesday.
Dozens of unidentified men attacked three police posts Monday in Khotang district, about 350 kilometres east of the Nepal capital Kathmandu , seizing police officers and capturing seven rifles, pistols and communication equipment, independent Radio Kantipur reported.
"About 50 to 60 men armed with automatic weapons surrounded Chisapani police post in the eastern part of the district and traded fire with the police," according to the radio report.
"Nine officers at the post surrendered after a brief firefight and the attackers made off with three rifles, pistols and communication equipment," Radio Kantipur said.
The group reportedly attacked a neighbouring police station at Falung several hours later.
The group seized the police post at Falung after distracting the officers by filing a complaint, police inspector Deepak Thapa told the radio station.
The attackers captured four rifles and pistols from the police station, Thapa said.
The group also attacked and capture another police post at Devighat but only unarmed police were deployed there.
Police said additional reinforcements of armed police were dispatched to the area on Tuesday morning and were searching for the attackers.
It is not clear who was behind the attack, the first on police stations in the hill region of Nepal since the Maoist formally gave up violence in November 2006.
However, several ethnic groups are operating in the district with an aim of creating an autonomous region for dominant groups.
The ethnic groups are also opposed to a key election to choose a constituent assembly scheduled for April 10, saying such a body will not represent them properly.
The election is a key component of the peace deal between the government and the Maoist rebels that ended a decade-long communist insurgency in the Himalayan nation.
Political analysts say the election is only possible by solving problems in southern Nepal and addressing the concerns of various ethnic groups.
The constituent assembly will write Nepal's new constitution and ratify the decision of the interim parliament to declare the country a republic.