Police struggle to identify source of explosives

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Dec 6, 2017-

Even as incidents of blasts, targeting poll candidates and their campaigns continued unabated, security agencies are struggling to identify source of ballistic materials used by the anti-election forces. More than 100 such incidents have taken place in the past three weeks.

While the Nepal Police said that more than 400 persons have been arrested for their involvement in anti-election activities, they have failed to ascertain the source of raw materials used to develop the IEDs.

On Monday, former health minister Gagan Thapa narrowly escaped a bomb blast aimed at his door-to-door campaign. An IED was detonated targeting Thapa’s election campaign in Chapali of Budhanilkantha Municipality. He sustained minor injuries on his left ear and back. Seven others were also injured in the attack. 

The security agencies have blamed the cadres of the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN for a slew of detonations across the country. But the party has not claimed responsibility for any of the recent attacks. “An investigation is on and we are interrogating people arrested in connection with the blast,” said Nepal Police Spokesperson DIG Manoj Neupane, without going into details.

However, police officials who have been involved in the investigation said they are investigation into a lead “that links ballistic materials used for making IEDs to ongoing construction projects in India”. As these projects use ballistic materials at construction sites, Nepalis labourers who are working there could have shipped the raw materials into Nepal. 

A recent seizure of explosives in Surkhet seems to have given credence to police claims.  

On November 11, police had seized a huge cache of explosive materials, including 60 detonators, 555 gelatins and 22 metres of fuse wire from a jeep in Surkhet. An subsequent investigation into the incident showed that the explosives were brought from India through Kailali. 

“A majority of the people who have been arrested are former Maoist combatants with expertise on preparing IEDs and using firearms,” said a high-level police official, requesting anonymity. “Some of these Nepali migrant workers in India are former rebels who are willing to support their friends in Nepal. This has been a big challenge facing us.” 

The Nepal Police has also arrested a few Indian nationals along with explosives. 

Two Indian men were arrested along with raw materials used for preparing IEDs from Dhading last week. A police team from Khanikhola Police Office arrested the individuals who were traveling on a passenger bus (Na 7 Kha 4976) en route to Kathmandu from Kakarbhitta during a security check. 

The duo are being interrogated by the Special Bureau of Nepal Police, but details are yet to emerge.

 

CNP activist held with pistol

ARGHAKHANCHI: A district committee member of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CNP) has been arrested in possession of a pistol from Sandhikharka, the district headquarters of Arghakhanchi. CNP district member Govinda Khanal was held with a pistol and seven bullets on Sunday, police said 

on Tuesday. The security personnel recovered the arms hidden in a box during a raid in his house. The district police office has detained 13 CNP activists from the district in the past two weeks on charge of their involvement in anti-poll activities.  (PR)

Published: 06-12-2017 07:36

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