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Insurgency in Nepal

2001

Since November 2001 Maoist insurgents have carried out attacks on Nepali security forces and government facilities in most parts of the country. Maoist cadres also have engaged in a variety of guerrilla and terrorist tactics that have victimized, and in many cases brutalized, civilians. The insurgents have detonated explosive devices both within and outside the Kathmandu Valley, causing numerous injuries and some fatalities.

Approximately 350 Maoists were killed by police during 2001 . Maoist insurgents often are drawn from members of the local population. Some of the deaths are believed to have been extrajudicial killings. In August the NHRC recommended disciplinary action against police officials responsible for ordering police to fire into a meeting of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Women's Association in Bharatpur in late 2000, killing one woman and injuring several others. The Commission also has recommended that the Government pay compensation of more than $1,300 (Rs. 100,000) to the family of the woman who was killed and lesser amounts to four of the injured. To date, no action has been taken against police who opened fire on a Maoist "cultural program" at a school in Accham District in 2000, killing nine persons, several of whom were bystanders. Since the event occurred before the establishment of the Human Rights Commission and the Home Ministry maintains that police acted in self-defense after being fired upon first, no action is likely. A Home Ministry official who investigated the killing of at least 18 Maoists during a "search operation" in Rukum in February 2000 stated that the Ministry has been unable to determine which police officers may have been guilty of using excessive force and consequently has taken no action. By year's end, no further action had been taken in the case of 20 to 30 police officers charged with abuses against the public in connection with police sweeps in 1998, and it appeared that no action would be taken.

Maoists were responsible for numerous abuses. Maoist rebels clashed with police repeatedly during 2001. Police fatalities totaled 206 by mid-September, more than double the number recorded in 2000. On January 23, three policemen were killed by a landmine at Daregauda, Gorkha. On April 1, Maoists attacked a police post in Rukumkot in Rukum District, in the northwest, killing 35 policemen and taking 16 persons prisoner. A similar attack occurred on April 5 in Dailekh, in which 31 policemen were killed. Another 30 policemen reportedly surrendered to their attackers, who then summarily executed 8 of the captives. On May 8, four policemen were killed in a Maoist ambush set near a police post in Chisopani, Syangja District. On June 29, Maoists shot and killed five policemen in Tanahu District. On July 6, the birthday of the country's new King Gyanendra and the country's new National Day, Maoists launched attacks on police posts in 3 separate locations, killing 21 policemen in Lamjung, 10 in Gulmi, and 10 in Nuwakot. On July 23, Maoists attacked 3 police posts in Bajura District, killing 15 officers. On November 21, Maoist leader Prachanda unilaterally called an end to the 4-month ceasefire with the Government. On the night of November 23, Maoist insurgents launched a series of surprise attacks on police, army, and other government facilities in a number of districts. In Dang District, Maoists overran an army barracks, killing the company commander and 11 other soldiers. Maoists attacks at two separate police posts killed nine policemen in Dang District as well. On the same day in Syangja District, Maoists attacked a police post, killing 14 policemen. The night of November 25, Maoists attacked army, police and government offices in Salieri, in Solukhumbu District, killing 27 policemen, 4 soldiers, and 2 civilian government officials, including the CDO. On November 26, Maoists ambushed an army convoy in Pyuthan District, killing two soldiers. On November 27, Maoists attacked a police post in a remote area of Darchula District, killing four policemen.

Although their activities are focused on the police, the Maoists continued to kill and injure civilians during 2001. For example, on January 1, Maoists shot and killed Nepali Congress supporter Ram Bharose Shah in Sarlahi District in the southeast. On January 19, Customs Inspector Sridhar Bhattarai was killed in a gunfight with Maoists in Jambu, Sindhupalchok. On February 3, Maoists ambushed the vehicle in which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was riding in Surkhet District, in the midwest. Although the Chief Justice survived the attack, six others (including the judge's bodyguard, a local court official, and four policemen) were killed. On February 9, Maoist rebels beat Aspal Tamang to death in Sindhupalchok. On February 12, in Accham District two children were killed and eight others injured after playing with a bomb that was widely assumed to have been left by Maoists. On February 19, Maoists killed two relatives of a former government minister and injured six others in Kailali District. On February 27, Maoists shot and killed Tikaraj Aran, a Nepali Congress Convention member. Three policemen on their way to the scene the following day were injured by a landmine.

On 26 June 2001 , Maoists abducted and killed Shyam Sunder Yadav, Chairman of the Khajurgachi Village Development Committee in Jhapa. On July 17, two dozen Maoist militants hacked Nepali Congress party member Krishna Bahadur Kunwar to death in Pithuwa, Chitwan. On September 9, Baijinath Das Tharu was killed in a confrontation between purported Maoists and local villagers in Parsa District. On September 23, the press reported that Maoists shot and killed Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist/Leninist (CPN-UML) member Nimlal Rokka in Holeri, Rolpa.

On 25 November 2001, Maoists beat Netra Bahadur Shrestha, President of the Mandu Village Development Committee in Gorkha District, to death with a chisel. On December 3, suspected Maoist sympathizers left a bomb in a carpet showroom in Kathmandu. The bomb exploded, killing three persons. On December 5, Maoists killed 16-year-old Tara Lawa in Thumbika, Taplejung District. On December 6, Maoist insurgents killed two unarmed policemen at Dhumbas Police Post in Kaski District by shooting them in the mouths. On December 8, Maoists stabbed and shot to death shopkeeper Sitaram Rai in Nuwakot District. On December 9, Maoists stabbed Nepali Congress activist Megh Bahadur Baniya to death in Chinnebas, Syangja District. On December 15, two assailants claiming to be Maoists shot and killed Ramesh Manandhar, a plainclothes U.S. Embassy guard, on duty near the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kathmandu. On December 15, a group of 15-20 Maoists in Dailekh District beat to death Janak Thapa. On December 17, Maoists killed a primary school headmaster and a former President of the Village Development Committee in Gorkha District. On December 28, Maoists shot and killed a 23-year-old man in Tara Khola, Baglung District.

Rivalries within the royal family are to blame for many problems facing Nepal. On June 1, 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra reportedly shot and killed his father, King Birendra; his mother, Queen Aishwarya; his brother; his sister; his father's younger brother, Prince Dhirendra; and several aunts, before turning the gun on himself. After his death 2 days later, the late King's surviving brother Gyanendra was proclaimed king. The official explanation for the incident was that the prince was drunk and outraged because of royal opposition to his choice of bride. However, the vast majority of Nepalese did not believe the official story.

The Government and the Maoists declared a ceasefire on 23 July 2001 and held three rounds of talks in August, September and November. Following the third rounds of talks in November, on November 21, Maoist leader Prachandra issued a unilateral statement ending the ceasefire. On November 23, the Maoists broke the ceasefire with attacks on police, army, and Armed Police Force personnel in several districts. According to government figures, the insurgency has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2,298 persons, including 508 policemen; 34 members of the army; 2 members of other security forces; 340 civilians; and 1,414 insurgents. These figures indicate that 274 police; 31 army; 84 civilians; and 423 insurgents were killed during the year.

Nepal's King Gyanendra approved the state of emergency in November 2001 . It allowed Nepal's army to join the fight against the Maoists for the first time in the six year insurgency.

The Nepalese government deployed the 54,000 strong Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) to reenforce the police forces. The RNA had previously been a largely ceremonial force that had mostly been used for UN peacekeeping missions and was hardly equiped to deal with a guerrilla insurgency like the one that they were about to face and as a result, they suffered heavy losses. The main task of the RNA was to replace the government's presence in areas where it had been weakened. This included building roads, did wells, and provide medical relief, but the scale of the projects were such that it did not make a considerable influence on the situation. Eventually the RNA was given primacy over a centralized force to deal with the insurgency, increasing and centralizing Nepal's previously weak command and control structures. However, a lack of trust began to harm this new structure, with the RNA viewing the police as corrupt and inefficient, and the police viewing the RNA as loyal only to the monarchy.



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