KATHMANDU - Nepalese police have arrested a politician and two other men over the fatal drive-by shooting of a candidate slated to run in next month's national elections, an official said Sunday.
The killing was the first since candidates began campaigning earlier this month for only the second national polls to be held in the impoverished Himalayan nation since a decade-long civil war ended in 2006.
Mohammad Alam, of the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party, died in hospital after being shot in the head in Kathmandu earlier this month in an attack that fuelled fears about security.
"We have arrested Ram Chandra Pyashi Kushbah and two others in connection with Alam's murder," a senior police official involved in the investigation told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Kushbah, also a UML politician and former member of the constituent assembly or parliament, was reportedly denied the chance to contest elections for Bara district in southern Nepal at the expense of Alam.
"We suspect that failing to get the election ticket might be one of the causes behind the murder," the official said, adding that the arrests took place late Saturday.
"They are being questioned in custody in Kathmandu," the official added.
Alam's death outraged the UML, with a party statement calling for an urgent investigation into "political murders".
Although more than 100 parties have fielded candidates, the elections, expected on November 19, will be fought mostly between the UML party, the Nepali Congress and the Maoists.