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Election Candidate Killed in Southern Nepal

A candidate in Nepal's upcoming elections was shot dead in the country's south. Nepal's election campaigning has got off to a violent start, with widespread reports of intimidation, mostly by the former rebel Maoists. International election observers have called for an end to election related violence. Liam Cochrane reports from Kathmandu.

Nepal election candidate Kamal Prasad Adhikari was killed by masked gunmen who entered his house before dawn in Banke District, about 400 kilometers from Kathmandu.

Adhikari was a member of the National People's Front, a small communist party contesting Nepal's Constituent Assembly elections on April 10th. He was the first candidate to be killed in what has been a violent start to election campaigning in Nepal.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the killing, but police have detained two suspects.

There are more than a dozen militant groups operating in Nepal's south, and several have vowed to disrupt the April elections.

There have been reports of intimidation and violence carried out by armed groups operating in southern districts, as well as attacks on political rallies by the former rebel Maoists and their youth wing, the Young Communist League.

Darren Nance is field representative of The Carter Center, one of several international organizations observing the election environment.

"The bulk of the concern has been targeted and geared towards the Maoists and specifically the YCL, the Young Communist League," Nance said. "That is not to say that there are not other parties breaking the code of conduct."

The Carter Center released a mixed assessment of the election environment this week, praising the active campaigning of candidates, but urging political parties to campaign fairly.

The Constituent Assembly election in April will determine a body to rewrite the country's constitution and decide the fate of the controversial monarchy.