Two killed in renewed violence in southern Nepal

Kathmandu_(dpa) _ At least two people were killed in renewed violence in the restive region of southern Nepal, officials said Thursday.

The violence came amid a continuing strike in southern Nepal called by various groups to press their demands for recognition of their communities as well as representation in the government.

Police said one person died when a passenger bus came under attack by supporters of the ethnic Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) late Wednesday night.

Armed MPRF supporters opened fire on the bus after police escorting the vehicle tried to disperse a mob enforcing a strike at Bharatpur of Dhanusha district, about 130 kilometres south-east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, the police said.

At least five people, including two police officers, were injured.

In a separate incident, a breakaway faction of the Maoist, Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM) killed a man after abducting him from his home in southern Nepal.

The group, which says it is fighting for an independent state in the southern Nepalese plains known as Terai, accused the man of "spying" for the security forces.

Southern Nepal has been at the centre of violence since January following protests by the MPRF calling for greater political representation in government, an increased number of seats for the region in parliament as well as a federal structure of government.

The JTMM, on the other hand, has attacked isolated police posts and murdered political opponents as they carry on their low-level insurgency.

Nearly 60 people have now died in violence in Terai since the beginning of the year.

Efforts by the Nepalese government to bring the agitating groups to the negotiating table have so far failed. dpa kr jh


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