Violence could destabilize Nepal elections

March 31, 2008 at 3:06 PM

KATHMANDU, Nepal, March 31 (UPI) -- Continued acts of violence by militants in Nepal have forced the U.N. mission to increase its monitoring of arms and armies ahead of the approaching elections.

A new report by Ian Martin, special representative of the secretary-general in Nepal, says continued violence from armed groups is threatening peaceful campaigning as the country prepares for the constituent assembly election on April 10. Despite a relative calm across much of Nepal, Martin says there have been a number of districts where violence has erupted between rival political party supporters, the United Nations reported.

The U.N. mission has increased its efforts over the last several weeks monitoring movements by armies. Officials estimate as many as seven people have been killed since the beginning of February in violent clashes. Martin is calling on political parties of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and the Unified Marxist-Leninist among others to end the violence and adhere to agreements to maintain peace.

"The main threats to peaceful campaigning were continuing acts of violence by armed groups in the Terai,(Nepal) and obstruction, intimidation and violence carried out by supporters of political parties against candidates and supporters of competing parties, as well as intimidation of voters," Martin writes in the report.

"The campaigning political parties should act immediately to end the cycle of violence and retaliation, and should respect fully the election code of conduct and human rights standards."

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