May 19 2002
Bomb explodes at SOS Children's Village Surkhet, Nepal
19/05/2002 - A bomb exploded at SOS Children's Village Surkhet, situated 600 km west of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, at 23:00 local time last Friday. The blast caused severe damage to the school principal's house, which is located on the SOS Children's Village site. No one was injured in the attack.
The authorities suspect that the bomb, which exploded at the school principal's house, was planted by Maoist guerrillas. An SOS co-worker from SOS Children's Villages Nepal confirmed that the school principal was in his bedroom at the time of the blast and fortunately escaped unharmed. Several windows of the neighbouring family houses were also shattered in the explosion.
The incident caused shock and panic among the SOS children, mothers and co-workers. However, security measures are now in place and the Nepalese Security Forces have been to the scene to assess the situation.
Maoist guerrillas have been fighting against the Nepalese Monarchy and for the creation of a communist state for the last six years. Since the end of last year, the situation has gradually intensified. However, this is the first time that the SOS Children's Village has been affected by terrorist violence. Prior to the incident, the Maoist guerrillas demanded that all private schools close between 15 and 21 May. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School remained open. Four schools in other districts were also targeted on the same day. It is therefore assumed that the attack was directed at the school and not directly at the SOS Children's Village.
SOS Children's Village Surkhet, one of seven in Nepal, was officially opened in 1989 and is currently home to 146 children. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner Secondary School opened in 1986 and is attended by 484 children from both the children's village and the local neighbourhood. Additional facilities include an SOS Social Centre for mothers and children, which includes a day-care centre, and an SOS Youth House and an SOS Medical Centre located approximately 55 km south of Surkhet in Nepalgunj.