Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Gunmen shoot aide to Nepal's PM

PM Prachanda, file pic
PM Prachanda was said to have visited his aide in hospital

The prime minister of Nepal's personal secretary has been shot and wounded by a group of attackers in the capital, Kathmandu, police and media say.

Shakti Bahadur Basnet, 39, was shot in the leg as he got out of his car at his home on Monday evening.

The aide of Maoist PM Prachanda is being treated in hospital but his injuries are not life-threatening.

Prachanda came to power after a landslide win in polls last year that ended a 10-year rebel insurgency.

'Foreign elements'

A number of rounds were fired at Mr Basnet outside his home, police said.

"Shakti Basnet received bullet injuries on his right thigh," Kathmandu police commissioner Ramesh Kumar Shrestha told the AFP news agency.

He said the attackers had not been found but about 20 arrests had been made since the incident.

Maoist spokesman Dinanath Sharma told the Himalayan Times that "foreign elements" were to blame.

"This is the handiwork of elements opposed to change in the country and those hell-bent on disrupting the peace process," Mr Sharma said.

Officials at the hospital said the prime minister had been to visit Mr Basnet at the B and B Hospital.

Nepal abolished its monarchy last year after the Maoists came to power but the country has continued to suffer ethnic tension and security problems.

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