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Explosions rock Nepal as ceasefire ends

The explosions took place just hours after the four-month ceasefire was called off. No casualties were reported.

world Updated: Jan 03, 2006 12:26 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

A series of explosions rocked Nepal on Tuesday, with one blast erupting in the popular tourist town of Pokhara, just hours after Maoist rebels called off a four-month unilateral ceasefire, raising fears of a major resumption of violence across the troubled Himalayan kingdom.

The blasts took place in Pokhara, in central Nepal, and in the western towns of Butwal and Bhairahawa. No one was injured.

Local media hasreported that the rebels, who have a strong presence across much of the countryside, were planning to attack the heavily defended Kathmandu.

"It is unfortunate. The state is prepared for any eventuality," junior Information Minister Shris Shumsher Rana told Reuters. "We are ever vigilant."

The violence has delayed parliamentary and local elections and wrecked the economy of the aid-dependent nation.

The Maoists first declared a three-month truce in September, but later extended it for another month under popular pressure.

On Monday, Prachanda, the elusive rebel leader, said the ceasefire would not be prolonged further and accused government troops of provoking his forces to break it.

Security across the nation has been stepped up after the blasts.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 12:26 IST