UN refuses to provide Nepal ‘confidential’ Maoist data

February 26th, 2010 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 26 (IANS) The UN agency entrusted with supervising the Maoist party’s guerrilla army in Nepal and their arms has angered the government by refusing to divulge the “confidential information” sought by the peace ministry on the fighters, saying it would be a breach of the peace pact.
Karin Landgren, chief of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), has conveyed the refusal to Nepal’s Peace and Reconstruction Minister Rakam Chamjong Thursday, saying while UNMIN was ready to “assist in a manner which would not require it to compromise UN obligations or impartiality”, it could not disclose the current number of guerrillas as it would go against the peace pact signed in 2006.

Nepal is seeking to assess how many Maoist People’s Liberation Army fighters still remain in the 28 camps in which they were confined after declaring an end to their 10-year armed insurgency in 2006. While according to an UNMIN verification, there are nearly 19,600 bona fide PLA fighters, the government says it has been told by sources that a large number has actually left the camps.

The government also fears that the money being paid as monthly allowances to the PLA is being misappropriated by the Maoist leadership. Chemjong says that the government is seeking to find out the actual number of PLA combatants in a bid to streamline the payments.

However, Landgren says that it is the responsibility of the PLA to provide accurate and updated numbers on their current personnel strength and not UNMIN’s. She also says that neither the Maoists nor the Nepal Army have done so despite being asked.

The UN refusal has left the government upset with Chemjong telling the media Friday that the government had the right to seek access to information about any of its citizens.

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