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Landmine Explodes Under Packed Bus in Nepal

In Nepal at least 35 people were killed and more than 60 wounded when a landmine exploded under a crowded bus. Officials say rebels are responsible for the blast. This is one of the deadliest incidents involving civilians since the communist insurgency began almost a decade ago.

Nepalese army officials say a powerful landmine exploded early Monday, ripping apart a packed bus as it traveled on a mountain highway about 180 kilometers southwest of the capital Kathmandu.

Most of the victims were villagers going to work or local markets.

Police accuse Maoist rebels of planting the mine in Chitwan district, which is a rebel stronghold.

Yuvraj Ghimre, editor of the Samay weekly newspaper says Nepal is caught in a cycle of violence. "Even the security forces admit and everyone knows that this is some kind of war where the enemies are not visible. But this war cannot be ended purely with use of security forces or military power, that everyone knows," he said.

The rebels have waged a nearly decade-long insurgency to turn Nepal into a communist republic. They control vast stretches of the countryside.

The violence continues unabated, four months after King Gyanendra took control of the government. He said the move was necessary to quell the insurgency.

However, neither the king nor the rebels have made any progress toward opening peace talks.

The rebels refuse to open a dialogue with the king until he installs an elected government. The king in turn says he will only hold talks with the rebels if they lay down arms.

The insurgency has claimed more than 12,000 lives and plunged one of the world's poorest countries into turmoil, creating political instability and wrecking the economy.