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After bloodbath, terror in Terai

The bandits looted at least 16 houses at gunpoint, and fired when villagers tried to resist in Rautahat district, Nepal.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2007 15:31 IST

ven before mourning for the 28 people killed in clashes in Nepal's Terai plains died down, fresh gunfire and terror erupted in the same afflicted district once again early on Friday, injuring at least one.

Rautahat district in southern Nepal, whose main town Gaur had remained under curfew since Wednesday when a fierce battle between Maoist guerrillas and ethnic protesters left 28 people dead and injured dozens, saw fresh violence after an armed gang of bandits attacked Baleriya village in the morning, a report said.

Striking around 2 am, the bandits looted at least 16 houses at gunpoint, firing when villagers tried to resist, private radio station Himalayan Broadcasting Corporation said on Friday.

A villager, Gopal Dhital, was injured in the firing and had to be rushed to Kathmandu for treatment after nearby Birgunj town's hospitals said they were unable to treat him, the station said.

The attack came even as Gaur, the scene of a carnage Wednesday, lay under curfew and tight security.

Nepal's Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who is facing a growing clamour for his resignation over mounting lawlessness and violence, visited Gaur Thursday accompanied by other political leaders, to express regret over the killings and said the government would take stern action against those found involved in the violence.

However, there is growing scepticism in the government's ability or will to curb the increasing incidents of violence.

Sitaula's own party legislator and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's daughter Sujata Koirala is leading the demands for the home minister's resignation.

The government's inability to bring to book the Maoists responsible for the first killings in the plains in Lahan town in January has fuelled the unrest and jeopardised the upcoming elections, Koirala said.

There is also a growing call in the UN to stop the violence in the Terai and punish the perpetrators.

After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's special representative for Nepal Ian Martin said the international community was shocked by the Gaur violence and hoped those responsible would be identified and punished, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an impartial investigation.

High Commissioner Louise Arbour, issuing a statement from her office in Geneva, said though a considerable number of law enforcement personnel were present in the area Wednesday, only a small number were deployed to the scene of the incidents.

"I urge the authorities to take all necessary steps to initiate a full and impartial investigation into the killings and other violent incidents and to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible," Arbour said.

"Such incidents must not be allowed to jeopardize the peace process."

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