Over 3 thousand former Maoist guerrillas join Nepalese Army
by Kalpit Parajuli
Official as of today, a total of 6 thousand ex-combatants join the army. Internal divisions of former Maoist rebels threaten the peace process with the government. Weapons disappear from some camps. Former rebel cadres attacked by extremist wing call for the protection of the military.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - 3,128 former Maoist guerrillas are now part of the regular army as Nepalese soldiers and officers. In recent days the military has officially taken possession of the 15 training camps still in the hands of the rebels scattered throughout the country. The Maoist Prime Minister Bhattarai said that this event marks the end "of the two armies for one state" and gives hope for a general reconciliation after 10 years of civil war between Maoists and supporters of the Hindu monarchy.

In the coming months 3500 other fighters will be integrated. The number respects the agreements between the UN, the Nepalese government and Maoist leaders. For the remaining 13 thousand a program of integration into the world of work and a subsidy of up to 50 thousand dollars for high-ranking leaders has been proposed. However, part of the former Nepal People's Liberation Army (Npla) considers the delivery of weapons and abandonment of the struggle an affront to the ideals of the 11-year Maoist war against state powers represented by the conservative parties still close to the monarchy.

Experts point out that such a division could stop the program of reintegration of militias into the army and society. According to military sources there are at least 3 thousand guerrillas who are pushing to get into battalions of the Nepal Army (NA), rejecting the option of civilian resettlement. Thousands more have opted instead for voluntary withdrawal, but without surrendering their weapons. In recent days, the Nepalese army has denounced the disappearance of several weapons and ammunition from old camps. The weapons were taken by men close to Mohan Baidhya, a former Maoist, contrary to the disarmament of rebel troops.

Last week, the leader has attacked some camps with his men and wounded four Maoists officers, forcing the former guerrillas to seek the protection of the army.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Bidhya, defines the plane of reinstatement "an insult to the People's Liberation Army and the war that allowed the liberation of Nepal. He points out that the Maoists "can not surrender to the elite who for years have oppressed minorities and the weakest". "The leaders announced a general strike in view of the delivery of the new constitution, whose term expires May 27.

The 11 year civil war in Nepal pitted the army and the Maoist guerrillas, who fought with the aim to overthrow the kingdom and establish the People's Republic of Nepal. The conflict ended with the fall of the absolute Hindu monarchy which was followed by a comprehensive peace agreement between the army and Maoists signed November 21, 2006 in front of UN and international community. The war has claimed more than 12,800 lives and created about 100 thousand refugees.

 

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