A female journalist who wrote about women's rights and criticised political leaders has been stabbed to death in southern Nepal, officials and colleagues said on Monday.
The region where she was murdered, the Terai plains, has seen sporadic violence since 2006 when the Maoists ended their civil war before winning elections last year.
"Uma Singh was attacked by around 15 armed people who stormed into her rented apartment on Sunday evening and stabbed her," said Shambhu Koirala, a local official from Sarlahi, 90 kilometres (56 miles) southeast of Kathmandu.
Dozens of armed groups claiming to fight for increased regional autonomy have emerged in southern Nepal in recent years, with scores of people killed.
Singh, 24, worked for a local daily newspaper and radio station and her editor told AFP he believed people angered by her coverage could have been responsible for her death.
"Recently she wrote articles criticising the dowry system, and she has also written about the involvement of political leaders in the ongoing Terai unrest," said Brij Kumar Yadav, editor of Janakpur on Monday.
"She was a courageous journalist, and this brutal killing shows that journalists in Nepal face tremendous threats," her editor said.
Excluding Singh, four journalists have been killed in Nepal since 2007 according to the New York based rights group Human Rights Watch.