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Nepal: brief departure of Maoists from cantonment sites sparks UN concern

Nepal: brief departure of Maoists from cantonment sites sparks UN concern

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has voiced concern that large numbers of Maoist soldiers today briefly left one of the cantonment sites where they had agreed to stay as part of last year’s peace accord ending the conflict in the Himalayan country.

Maoist army personnel were observed this morning outside the main cantonment site in Nawalparasi and its satellite sites in the western region of Nepal, UNMIN said in a press release, adding that it had deployed three mobile teams to monitor the situation.

“This is a serious violation of commitments made in the agreement of arms and armed personnel reached between the Maoists and their partners in the Interim Government,” UNMIN stated.

The mission said it had conveyed its concerns to the political and military leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which advised that it had ordered the immediate return of personnel to the cantonment sites.

Under last year’s agreement ending the civil war, the Maoists agreed that their combatants would be confined at the cantonment sites, where they and their weapons can be registered and verified, in the lead-up to Constituent Assembly elections scheduled for November.

UNMIN said in its press release that “while the verification process of Maoist army personnel is proceeding well, implementing the commitments in relation to the management of arms and armed personnel, without exception, is essential to the overall peace process and in particular to preparing a free and fair atmosphere for the Constituent Assembly election.”