GUWAHATI, India — At least 130 rebels have been killed and 500 have surrendered as Bhutan presses its campaign to flush out Indian guerrillas holed up in the tiny Himalayan kingdom, officials said Saturday.
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and his son are personally "leading the troops" on the offensive, which began last week, a Bhutanese official said.
"The king and his son are leading the troops in flushing Indian rebels out of Bhutanese soil," said the government official, who did not want to be identified.
"Despite having led the troops, his majesty is in good health and safe," he said, adding that the king was not directly involved in combat operations.
The Buddhist kingdom Monday launched its biggest military offensive ever against about 3,000 guerrillas, who have set up camps in the nation's southern jungles.
The guerrillas have been battling New Delhi's rule in India's remote northeast. India has been pressing Bhutan for years to take action against the rebels, who darted across the border for hit-and-run operations.
Bhutan, wedged between India and China, has rejected a cease-fire offer by the rebels and vowed to press on with its offensive.
As the operation entered its sixth day Saturday, the rebels fought back, killing a civilian and a soldier, Indian police said.
A policeman said a group of heavily armed guerrillas opened fire on a convoy of civilian vehicles, escorted by Bhutanese troops, about 25 miles from the Indian border, killing two and wounding many others.
Rebel groups called a two-day general strike starting Saturday in the northeastern Indian state of Assam and parts of West Bengal to protest the military offensive in Bhutan, but residents did not respond to the call.