111 ex-Gurkha men to initially monitor arms

As many as 111 Gurkha ex-servicemen from both the Indian and the British army will provide initial help to Nepal`s government and the Maoists in managing and monitoring the rebel arms and armed forces at selected cantonment sites.

Kathmandu, Dec 22: As many as 111 Gurkha
ex-servicemen from both the Indian and the British army will
provide initial help to Nepal`s government and the Maoists in
managing and monitoring the rebel arms and armed forces at
selected cantonment sites.

The Gurkha ex-armymen will be assigned the job of
management and monitoring of arms and armies of the rebels in
the first phase, as per an agreement signed between the
government, Maoists and the UN mission in Nepal, the national
news agency said quoting officials.

There is an advantage in deploying the ex-Gurkhas as they
are familiar with the geographical terrain and as they speak
Nepalese language, it will be easier for them to also
communicate with the Maoist militia, officials said.

The UN Secretary General`s personal representatives to
Nepal Ian Martin said the recruitment of the Gurkhas will be
the responsibility of the Nepalese side.

Martin has been saying that armed personnel from
neighbouring countries including India and China will not be
sent to monitor Nepal`s arms management programme. However,
the UN has no objection in deploying the Gurkhas.

The government and the Maoists have also agreed to
publish an advertisement tomorrow to recruit the Gurkha
ex-servicemen, giving them five days for sending in their
applications. Home Minister Krishna Sitoula said the matter
was decided last evening in a meeting with martin.

Gurkha soldiers who have retired within the last three
years would be eligible to participate in the programme and
the selection procedure would be completed within 10 days.

The ex-soldiers will be deployed in the cantonment sites
to expedite the arms management task as it would take few more
weeks for the 60 un personnel to arrive here.

The UN has agreed to send 35 arms monitors and 25 experts
to supervise election to the constituent assembly that would
rewrite the constitution. The ex-Gurkhas will help the
programme until the arrival of the united nations team.

The 70 arms containers dispatched from India has already
arrived here and they will reach all the seven main cantonment
sites within a day or two. India has borne the cost of
providing these cantonments for storage of Maoists` arms.

India has also pledged to provide food grains to feed
about 30,000 Maoist combatants, who will be confined in 28
camps including 21 sub-cantonments.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has earlier said
that unless the Maoists` arms were managed the interim
constitution will not be promulgated and the rebels would
not be included in the government.

Bureau Report

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