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Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Nepal massacre: Eyewitness accounts
Prince Dipendra
Crown Prince Dipendra killed himself after killing most of his family
Survivors of the royal massacre in Nepal have given the first public accounts of what happened, confirming that the then Crown Prince Dipendra was responsible.

The late king's uncle, Maheswar Kumar Singh, told the BBC that Prince Dipendra, King Birendra's eldest son, had opened fire on them with a machine-gun.

Another survivor, Rajiv Shahi, who is the son-in-law of the late king's brother Dhirendra, told journalists that the shooting spree lasted less than two minutes - after which Dipendra shot himself in the head.

"I am very sorry to say that it has been done by him. But fact is fact, I have seen it... It was no other person than Crown Prince Dipendra," Maheswar Kumar Singh told the BBC.


I looked around and I saw his majesty... he was lurching to one side and then gradually sinking and then realised that something had happened

Maheswar Kumar Singh
"I remember he fired a first shot, it was at the ceiling I think. And then immediately, brrrrrrrr... (pointing around him in an arc).

"I looked around and I saw his majesty... he was lurching to one side and then gradually sinking and then realised that something had happened.

Maheswar dived for cover and heard the remainder of the shooting and killing around the palace.

'Very intoxicated'

According to Rajiv Shahi, Dipendra was "very intoxicated" to the point of falling down when he shot his family members in the L-shaped drawing room of the palace in which they were gathered.

Dipendra wore a battle-dress uniform and carried several weapons, including an M-16 assault rifle.


I rushed to [the king], took off my coat and pressed it against his neck from where he was bleeding. He told me he had been shot in the stomach as well

Rajiv Shahi
Shahi said he first heard a loud burst of gunfire around 2100 local time (1515 GMT) and then people screaming that the king had been shot.

"I rushed to [the king], took off my coat and pressed it against his neck from where he was bleeding. He told me he had been shot in the stomach as well," Shahi said.

Point blank range

Dipendra left the room for the garden, but soon returned to continue shooting.


What motivated him to do this I'm not sure, but it was the crown prince Dipendra who committed these murders

Rajiv Shahi
"My father-in-law [Prince Dhirendra] was shot at point blank range in his chest."

At that point Dipendra "started to go wild", Shahi said, spraying bullets all over the room.

"How many weapons he used, I'm not sure. I did not count. It was too fast," he said.

Dipendra then returned to the garden again, where his mother, Queen Aishwarya and his younger brother Prince Nirajan were standing.

Suicide

"From what I gathered, (they) went to confront him about what he did and Prince Nirajan came in between his mother and his brother.

"He was shot in the back. He had numerous gunshot wounds."

During the shooting, Dipendra shot his father on three different occasions according to Shahi.

Dipendra then shot himself on a bridge that links the palace gardens with his private quarters.

"What motivated him to do this I'm not sure, but it was the crown prince Dipendra who committed these murders," Shahi added.

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See also:

06 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal journalists charged with treason
02 Jun 01 | South Asia
Nepal mourns slain king
05 Jun 01 | South Asia
Aishwarya: Nepal's forceful queen
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