A powerful bomb exploded at the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Bharatpur, 180 kms south of Kathmandu, late on Tuesday. No one was hurt in the blast but the building was badly damaged. It is the second time a Coca-Cola facility has been targeted by Maoist rebels in the country.

The rebels bombed Coca-Cola's other plant in Nepal, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, last November. Some 2,300 people have been killed in the country since the Maoist rebels began their campaign against the government in 1996. The choice of Coca-Cola as a target is thought by observers to be a response to the public support the US has given to the Nepalese government.