Dozen hurt in gasoline bomb attack on moving bus on Nepal highway

Political activists opposing next week's assembly vote hurled a powerful gasoline bomb at a moving bus in central Nepal on Thursday night injuring a dozen people, including the bus driver and his assistant, police said.

The bus that was being escorted by security patrols from western Nepal to Kathmandu came under attack in the Makwanpur district about 50 kilometers west of the capital, Ganesh Bahadur Aer, the district police chief, told Kyodo News by phone.

The assailants threw the bomb at the bus driver who then lost control and the bus eventually overturned. The assailants got away.

Of the 12 injured, six have serious burns, police said.

Nepal is electing its second constituent assembly Tuesday to finalize the country's post-monarchy constitution.

An alliance of 33 parties led by the ultra-left Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which split from the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) last year, has announced a boycott and has vowed to disrupt the vote.

The alliance has called a nine-day transportation strike that will last until the day of the vote and vehicles defying the strike are being targeted every day.

The protesting alliance is demanding postponement of the vote to allow time for all-party round table talks in which they want contentious issues in a new constitution settled.

They say without settling those issues, the assembly to be elected next week will also fail to deliver a constitution as did its predecessor.

The previous assembly was elected in 2008 and dissolved in May last year amid a months-long standoff due to disagreements mainly over whether the country should be federated on the basis of ethnicity, geography or economic viability.