Nine people have been killed in a bomb explosion in western Nepal's Palpa district on Tuesday, an incident that comes a year after the formal signing of a peace pact with Maoist insurgents.
The explosion occurred in Gothadi, a remote village that is nearly five hours drive from the district headquarters Tansen.
Bal Krishna Panthi, chief district officer of Palpa, a prime tourist destination in the hilly west, said investigators and bomb disposal squad had been rushed to the area following reports of a deafening blast around 8.30 am
He said the blast demolished the house where it was concealed. "We have to wait till the rescue team digs up the survivors and bodies to know the full details," the official said.
According to media reports, the bomb could have been a legacy of the Maoist guerrillas' 10-year "people's war".
Though the rebels signed a formal peace agreement with the government last year and have joined the ruling coalition, it is feared that a formidable arsenal of bombs and mines remains planted throughout Nepal.
Though an arms accord pledged that the guerrillas and the army would work together to defuse concealed land mines, no substantial progress has yet been reported.
Last winter, during the reign of King Gyanendra, the Maoists had launched a multi-pronged attack in Tansen, destroying an old palace used as an administrative office, the local prison and security installations.