Maoist insurgents yesterday exploded a bomb in the offices of Nepal Telecom in the east of the country. The attack destroyed switching equipment, causing up to USD7 million in damage and depriving over 1,200 telephone subscribers of services. Local newspapers quoted Nepal Telecom as saying that the damage would take at least six months to repair.
Nepal’s communications networks have taken a considerable battering recently. New leader King Gyanendra has ordered a blanket ban on the use of cellular phones in the country, in a bid to prevent insurgents from organising illegal protests. Upon seizing power last month, the king also shut down all fixed line communications channels including the internet, although that ban was subsequently lifted.