Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nepal Rebel Vows Not to Disarm Before Vote on Charter

By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: May 21, 2006

The voluble chief of Nepal's Maoist guerrillas on Friday rejected the notion that his troops would disarm before elections, as many insurgent armies have done across the world. He demanded instead that his troops be sequestered and kept under international supervision, but only if the Royal Nepalese Army agreed to the same treatment.
"We are not exactly an armed group like in other places in the current world," declared the leader, known as Prachanda, or the fierce one. "How can you think we are only a small rebel group and the R.N.A. is legal and legitimate?"
His comments, made in a wide-ranging interview on Friday night in an Indian city that he insisted remain unidentified, signaled one of the central challenges facing the peace process in Nepal: How to carry out credible elections to redraft the country's constitution, as the new government has promised, without compelling the rebels to put down their guns.

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