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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Nepal police seize suspected detonators from Delhi-Kathmandu bus

Nepal Armed Police Force (NAPF) said the devices which looked like detonators were found during a routine luggage check on Sunday morning.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2019 23:43 IST
Police personnel block a road in Nepal.
Police personnel block a road in Nepal. (AFP FILE PHOTO)
         

Nepalese police seized 12 suspected detonators Sunday morning from a Delhi-Kathmandu bus in the Kailali district of Nepal, about 150 kms away from Uttarakhand’s Champawat district from where the bus enters the Himalayan country.

The seizures which came on a day when serial bomb blasts killed almost 300 people in Sri Lanka raised concerns about terrorists moving their hardware. According to Nepal Armed Police Force (NAPF), the devices which looked like detonators were found during a routine luggage check on Sunday morning.

“The bus had reached Dudjhari base camp in Kailali district late on Saturday around 11:45pm. As it was dark, we decided to check the luggage in the morning. During the search, we found 12 suspicious looking things. The devices were hidden between women’s clothing in a bag,” said KC Netra, deputy superintendent, NAPF over the phone.

“There were metal pipes with wires coming out from each of them. They were looking like detonators. We asked the passengers about the bag but none of them came forward to own it,” he said.

Netra said he informed his commander and sent photographs of the devices on phone. “He too said they looked like detonators and asked me to inform the Kailali district police which I did,” added Netra.

The Kailali district police said they were awaiting a forensic lab report to confirm if the seized objects were actually explosives.

“We cannot confirm or deny anything regarding the suspicious items until we receive the forensic report,” said Abhushan Timilsena, superintendent of police, Kailali district police, Nepal. “Since it’s a serious matter, we will wait for the expert’s verdict before saying anything.”

Meanwhile, the Champawat police have increased security at check posts in the border town of Banbasa after the incident.

“We have heightened our vigil at the Sharda Barrage checkpoint after the incident,” said Naresh Chandra, circle officer, Tanakpur.

The Delhi-Kathmandu-Delhi bus service also known as ‘Maitri Bus’ was started in 2014 and runs daily between the two destinations.

At the Indian side, the bus travels through at least four checkpoints, manned by four agencies--including personnel of district police, immigration authorities, customs department and Sashashtra Seema Bal at the border.

“Though this incident happened inside Nepal, their security agencies have agreed to share information with us including the forensic report,” added Chandra.