UN concerned over killing of Nepal election candidate
( dpa )- The United Nations Thursday expressed concern over the murder of an election candidate in western Nepal as well growing intimidation of political activists in the country.
The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which is overseeing Nepal's peace process, said it was deeply concerned over the killing of candidate Kamal Adhikari, who was shot dead at his home in Banke district, about 420 kilometres west of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu.
"Violence and threats against candidates represent a serious obstacle to the creation of a free and fair atmosphere for the election, and all efforts must be made to bring those responsible to justice," UNMIN said.
The United Nations Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT) also expressed its concern over the rising levels of intimidation and obstruction of political gatherings by rival groups.
"The EEMT noted with concern the intensification of harassment and acts of violence against some candidates and their supporters," the expert group said in a statement.
"Such acts disrupt the electoral process by violating the people's right of free assembly and obstructing the capacity of political parties and candidates to participate in a fair campaign."
The concerns came amid reports of election-related violence across the Himalayan nation, with rival political groups intervening to stop election campaign programmes.
On Wednesday, at least 24 supporters of the moderate Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist Leninists, were injured when they were attacked by Maoist cadres in four districts.
Also, two Maoist supporters were shot dead in their stronghold of Rolpa district.
"It will be imperative that the government of Nepal, security forces, political parties, electoral officials, and stakeholders make all efforts to avoid a resurgence of violence," the UN expert group said.
Nepal goes to the polls on April 10 to choose a constituent assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution and ratify the parliament's decision to abolish the monarchy.
The election to choose a constituent assembly is a key component of a peace agreement between the government and the Maoists which ended a decade-long communist insurgency in the Himalayan nation.