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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
2 January 2006

NEPAL: Maoist rebels call off cease-fire

KATHMANDU, 2 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Nepal’s Maoist rebels have decided not to continue their unilateral cease-fire which expired on Monday after four months. Declared on 1 September 2005, this was the first unilateral cease-fire announced by the rebels after nearly a decade of violence aimed at overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a Maoist state.

Two cease-fires in 2001 and 2003 were called jointly by both rebels and government but ensuing peace talks ended in failure.

On this occasion, the government, currently under the direct rule of King Gyanendra and his council of ministers, did not reciprocate the Maoist ceasefire. In a statement the insurgents accused the state of arresting dozens of Maoists cadres and killing one of their key members, Kimbahadur Thapa, despite their cease-fire.

The king has come under severe criticism both at home and abroad, for failing to respond to the Maoist decision to cease hostilities and an offer of peace talks.

The United Nations expressed concern on 31 December that violence would escalate should the ceasefire end. “Secretary-General Kofi Annan deeply regrets that despite the appeal of so many national and international voices, including his own, no progress appears to have been made towards a mutually agreed truce,” said a statement by Annan’s office.

The suspension of hostilities had been widely welcomed and had led to an increase in aid and development work in the Himalayan kingdom as well as fewer deaths, injuries and abductions.

A recent report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said that despite continued human rights violations during the recent ceasefire period, the number of killings during the past four months had dropped sharply in 33 conflict-affected districts of Nepal.

The Maoists said in Monday’s statement that they would consider returning to a cease-fire if the situation improved and the army stopped killing their members and supporters.



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