At least 36 people have been killed and dozens more wounded when a crowded bus detonated a land mine planted by suspected communist rebels in Nepal's south, an army official said.
The bus, which was packed with passengers, was ripped apart as it was traveling on a rural highway near the village of Badarmude, an army official said on condition of anonymity.
Army officials are not allowed to reveal their names in &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/02/18/26461.html ' target=_blank>Nepal for security reasons.
Seventy-two were wounded, some of them critically, the official said, adding that everyone on the bus was either killed or hurt in the explosion.
Badarmude, in Chitwan district, is about 180 kilometers (112 miles) southwest of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, reports CNN News.
The guerrillas have stepped up violence since Feb. 1, when &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/06/03/6760.html ' target=_blank>King Gyanendra took control of the government and imposed a state of emergency subsequently lifted in April. The king said his February power grab was necessary to quell the communist insurgency, which has left more than 11,500 people dead.
The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, responded to the king's actions by shutting down highways and calling a general strike. They have repeatedly refused government calls for peace talks.
Government troops moved in after Monday's blast, searching for rebels and taking control of the area, 110 miles southwest of the capital, Katmandu.