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Fighting erupts in Nepal as US, India back King

by KOL/Nepal News Saturday, Apr. 26, 2003 at 3:41 PM

US agrees to help fight 'terrorism' in Nepal, as India offers military support to the Royal Nepal Army. A shootout between Maoist and RNA forces leaves several casualities, more

Nepal, US sign anti terrorism commitment

Nepal and the United States signed a commitment Friday to jointly fight terrorism for the next five years. The commitment which was signed by Home Secretary Tika Dutta Niraula and Ambassador Mike Malinowski can be extended by mutual agreement.

The accord will help strengthen Nepal's institutional capability to protect infrastructure, people's lives, VIPs and manage international frontiers, the Home Ministry said.

The accord will help promote Nepal's peace and development, the Ministry said. br April 25

India ready to help Nepal: Vij

KOL Report

POKHARA, April 24 - Indian Chief of Army Staff General NC Vij has said that India is ready to provide any type of weapons necessary to contain the Maoists insurgency in Nepal.

“India has already provided the weapons worth Rs. 2 billion and more weapons worth Rs. 1 billion are still to come,” he made the statement while visiting pension-paying Office at Pokhara on Thursday.

Addressing the Indian Ex-servicemen and their families, Vij recalled the services rendered by them while in service in India and promised additional welfare programmme for future.

“India cannot remain aloof from the crisis facing Nepal and wants progress and prosperity in Nepal. India is always with Nepal whatsoever the conditions.” said General Vij. (snn/rk)

One Maoist killed in shoot-out

In the first major ceasefire violation ahead of peace Sunday, one Maoist was killed in a gun battle with the security forces at Namje of Ragani Village Development Committee in Okhaldhunga district Thursday afternoon, published reports said.

Government and Maoists declared a ceasefire on January 29. The Maoist activist killed in the incident was a woman who was in a combat dress. The incident unfolded no sooner the government and Maoist peace negotiators met for an informal discussion in the capital and agreed to hold the first round of peace talks coming Sunday.

Defence Secretary Madan Prasad Aryal told the Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) that the security forces had opened fire on encountering the armed Maoists who refused to hand over their weapons but instead began firing after making a retreat.

The Nepal Samacharpatra daily quoted the army sources as saying that the Maoists fled after the encounter and opened fire following the retreat. Firing from both sides took place after that for sometime, the daily said.

According to the daily some Royal Nepal Army soldiers were injured in the cross firing though exact details are known yet. The daily quoted Maoist peace negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara as saying that his party had sent a message to the government through Minister Narayan Singh Pun demanding for a public apology for violating the code of conduct of the ceasefire.

Government spokesman Ramesh Nath Pandey termed the incident of being 'unfortunate' at a time when the dates for the peace talks have been fixed, the daily said. Pandey said that a probe committee was formed and it had already started investigating into the incident. am Apr 25

Dr Bhattarai flays army for ‘anti-talks’ remarks

By Chitranga Thapa & Mohan Budha Aier

DHANGADHI, April 24 - Maoist chief negotiator for peace talks, Dr Baburam Bhattarai Wednesday flayed the Royal Nepal Army for making “anti-talks” statements at its Tuesday press conference.

“It reflects the army’s interest for commission that they can extract from the purchase of expensive weapons,” Dr. Bhattarai told the reporters. “There is a network of mafia inside the army that is always motivated to continue war and purchase expensive weapons.”

Bhattarai said the “irresponsible” statement that came from the Royal Nepal Army has indicated that a serious conspiracy is going on against the present peace process. Bhattarai also condemned RNA’s statement that returning the weapons that were looted by the Maoists from the army should be one of the preconditions for the talks.

“It would have been justified had the government or the king made such statements,” said Bhattarai. (yo)

More than 1,000 still in custody: AI

KOL Report

KATHMANDU, April 24 - The international human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has claimed that the security forces are still holding more than 1,000 persons in custody.

The Amnesty headquarter situated in London in a press release said those being held in custody have not been allowed to meet or talk to any one from outside.

Earlier this week, the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) said it was not holding anyone after the cease-fire. Colonel Deepak Gurung said that those in army custody were handed over to the administration after initial investigations. (hbt/rk)

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