Four people were killed and nearly 30 wounded when a bomb attached to a motorbike went off near a crowd of protesters in southern Nepal on Monday.

The group of 150 demonstrators in the city of Janakpur, 20 km from the Indian border, were staging a sit-in to demand a separate province for Maithili-speaking people when the bike exploded.

“One of the protesters died on the spot while three died on their way to hospital. We have referred around seven seriously injured victims for treatment to Kathmandu,” local police chief Basanta Raj Gautam told AFP.

“Over 20 people who sustained minor injures from the blast are being treated at various hospitals in the district.”

The protesters had been taking part in a strike in Janakpur to demand the new province in the Terai plains. “There were around 150 persons sitting in the protest... when the bomb went off. We have increased security in the area but no one has taken responsibility for the incident,” Mr. Gautam said.

A powerful blast in Kathmandu in February killed three people and wounded seven in the first such incident in the capital for three years. An organisation called the United Ethnic Liberation Front (UELF) claimed responsibility.

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