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Man Arrested in Connection with Killing of Nepal's Police Chief - 2003-01-27

Police in Nepal have arrested one man in connection with the killing of the country's Armed Police Force chief. Authorities believe that Maoist rebels are responsible for the attack.

Officials say the suspect, Krishna Hari Sainju, was arrested near the area where police chief Krishna Mohan Shrestha was gunned down in the capital Kathmandu on Sunday. Mr. Shrestha was killed along with his wife and a bodyguard.

Officials believe the detained man is a local Maoist commander. He was found hiding in a house, with gunshot wounds in his legs. He is being treated in a hospital.

He is allegedly one of at least three persons who led the attack. Media reports said that the killers were masked and shot their victims a number of times before fleeing.

Mr. Shrestha is the highest-ranking police official killed since the Maoist insurgency erupted in 1996. He had received repeated death threats from the rebels. The Maoists have made no comments on the killings.

Mr. Shrestha was cremated in Kathmandu on Monday. Senior police officials and thousands of spectators attended the funeral.

The police chief's death has shocked residents in Kathmandu. Security has been stepped up in the city and around senior police officers.

The Maoist strongholds are in rural Nepal and their attacks have mostly targeted police stations and infrastructure in remote areas.

The rebels are fighting to abolish the country's constitutional monarchy and establish a communist state.

Political analysts say the latest attack will increase pressure on Nepal's interim administration, which was appointed by King Gyanendra three months ago after he fired the country's elected prime minister.

The new government had promised to quell the rebellion, but violence continues unabated. More than 7,000 people have been killed in insurgency-related incidents in the past seven years.