Govt wants UNMIN to clarify about ex-combatants China visit

The Nepal government Saturday said it would seek a clarification from the UN mission over the recent visit to China by a team of former Maoist commanders, which it said came without informing the relevant authorities.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 00:17 AM IST

Kathmandu: The Nepal government Saturday said it would seek a clarification from the UN mission over the recent visit to China by a team of former Maoist commanders, which it said came without informing the relevant authorities.

The United Nations Mission (UNMIN) is the monitoring body of the former combatants, and is hence accountable for their activities, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong said here today.

The former combatants who are currently under the supervision of UNMIN were not given permission by the government for their visit to China, he said.

A team comprising a dozen former Maoist commanders returned from a week-long trip to China on Thursday. The visit was reported in the media and the government seems unhappy over the development.

The team reportedly included Maoist military in-charge and standing committee member Barsha Man Pun, PLA deputy commander and politburo member Janardan Sharma, and spokesperson Chandra Prakash Khanal, among others.

The Maoist combatants who are confined in the UN monitored cantonments cannot go on a political visit, Chemjong said at a programme.

Chemjong said the government will seek a clarification from UNMIN on the purpose of the visit and the reasons for not informing the all party Special Committee about the same.

As per the agreement reached between the Maoists and the government, the former combatants come under the jurisdiction of the Special Committee that is responsible for managing the Maoist soldiers.

He said "the combatants and arms are still under the monitoring of the UN body" while justifying the government`s intention to seek an explanation from UNMIN.

On the political stalemate in Nepal, Chemjong pointed out that intra-party mistrust was the main reason for this.

He underlined the need for political parties to work towards a consensus and an action plan of the Special Committee to expedite the peace process.

While the former Maoist commanders returned from China, Maoist chief Prachanda left for the country yesterday for a five-day visit during which he is expected to hold consultations with Chinese leaders.

UCPN Maoist Secretary C P Gajurel, meanwhile, claimed that the combatants have been transferred under the command of the Special Committee and the party is unaware about the purpose of their visit to China.

"How and by whose permission they went on the visit we cannot say that. They are out of the party`s directive sphere," Gajurel said.

Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said it was necessary to investigate the combatants` China visit. Mahat, himself is a member of the Special Committee stated that he will raise this issue in the meeting of the committee.

PTI