Reporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about the fate of Prakash Singh Thakuri, a freelance journalist, who was kidnapped on 5 July. A previously unknown group calling itself the National Republican Army, Nepal (NRA) claimed on 8 July that it killed him.
"Six days have gone by without any word from Thakuri," the press freedom organisation said. "If his death is confirmed, he would be the first journalist to be killed since the fall of King Gyanendra’s authoritarian regime in April 2006 and the return to democracy. The Nepalese authorities must do everything possible to rescue Thakuri, if there is still time, or otherwise identify and arrest those responsible for his murder."
In an email message sent to local journalists three days after Thakuri’s abduction in the western town of Kanchanpur, the NRA said Thakuri was singled out because of his articles supporting the king. He used to work with the Mahendranagar-based daily Aajako Samachar. Signed by a person identifying himself as Krantidweep, the message said he was shot as he tried to escape.
The police have not yet found the body, but many journalists fear he was the victim of an execution-style killing.
His wife told the police she believed Thakuri’s abduction was organised by local members of the Young Communist League, which is affiliated to the Maoist party. As a result, a YCL member, Pomlal Sharma, was arrested. The Maoists nonetheless deny any involvement in Thakuri’s disappearance.