KATHMANDU: Nepal's former Maoist rebels criticised Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala yesterday for refusing to integrate thousands of ex-guerillas into the national army, in a sign of fresh political tension.
More than 31,000 former Maoist fighters housed in the UN-monitored camps await integration under a peace pact that brought them into the political mainstream. But Koirala said that he opposed integrating the 'politicised' fighters into the army.
The premier was reported to have suggested alternatives such as setting up a security force for companies and industries. Senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai dismissed Koirala's comments, as "irresponsible" and said their fighters must be integrated into the national army.
In December, the parliament passed a motion to abolish the monarchy after elections, expected to be held before April 12 for a constituent assembly.The decision ended political deadlock between the government and the Maoists, who returned to the cabinet last month to move forward the peace deal, thus ending their civil war against the monarchy.
The premier's refusal to take ex-guerillas into the army "is against the peace agreement signed in 2006, Bhattarai said.
(Source: "Nepal 'facing fresh tension", Gulf-daily-news, 10 January 2008)