NEW MAOIST ATTACKS KILL 200; AT LEAST 100 REBELS ALSO DIE
by Chiranjibi Paudyal
American Reporter Correspondent
KATHMANDU, April 16, 2002 -- More than 200 people, including 60 policemen, were killed when armed groups of Maoist rebels suddenly attacked all the police posts in Dang district, the home constituency of Nepal's Home Minister in western Nepal on Thursday night, officials said.
The Maoists, who were declared terrorists by the government afterdeclaration of a state of emergency last November 26, attacked allthe police posts but the security forces retaliated. Some 35 armed police,including one senior police officer and four police inspectors, werekilled at the Satbariya police post, while 13 policemen werekilled at Lamahi police post in the same district.
The Communist rebels, who want to establish a North Korean-style Communistrepublic in the World's only Hindu kingdom - replacing the British-styledemocratic system restored in 1990 through a popular movement - sufferedheavy losses during a six-hour gun battle with security forces in the two towns.The insurgency began in 1996.
Officials believe that more than 200 rebels were killed in the incidents.The Maoists took away the bodies of their dead comrades and buried themhastily in the forest and along riverbanks. The police so far have found 92bodies buried in various parts of the river banks and the surroundingforest areas.
The security forces also found some headless bodies in the Maoist'stypical camouflage uniform. their bodies wrapped in communist flags marked with the symbol of their ranks in the armed squads, the security officials said.
Nepal Television showed the terrible picture of some dead rebels who were half buried in the sandy banks of the Rapti river and the neighboringareas of Satbariya.
According to eyewitnesses and reporters, the Maoists had taken the deadbodies in three trucks to the nearest forests and river banks and buriedthem hastily in every nook and cranny of the areas. According to localpeople. more than 250 Maoists were killed, and some of the seriouslyinjured might have been killed by the terrorists themselves, who often cannotget proper treatment for the injured in their forest hiding places.
Nepali Home Minister Devendra Raj Kandel said "at least 150 Maoists were killed," but the local media reported that the death toll to the Maoists side could be as high as 300.
Five sacks of heads and headless bodies were also found buried in the nearby forests, reminding some here of the horrendous massacres in Rwanda, where thousands were killed in the clashes between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes.
The stench of dead bodies strewn and half buried created problems for neighboring local people, who fear the spread of disease in the areas.The Maoists cut off the heads to make it difficult to identify the dead bodies. An Associated Press reporter visiting the area said he saw more than 60 bodies, some of them headless and half buried, and some being eaten by dogs. "This was the most terrible scene I have ever seenin my life," said a local teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity.
According to the official figure, more than 3,000 people, most of themMaoist rebels, policemen and political party workers have beenkilled in the Maoist insurgency.
The government offered amnesty and initiated talks with the rebels in July 2001. but the rebels broke off peace talks and resumed attacksafter three rounds of talks in late November. The rebelsattacked in Syangja and Dang districts in western Nepal and Solokhumbuin the northeast, where the famous mountaineer Sherpa guides live.
Nepal declared a state of emergency and mobilized the army to crush the Maoists in late November. India, the United States and other donor countries have committed to providing cooperation to end theviolence.
"The Maoists are terrorists and they have defamed the image of MaoTse Tung, the communist leader of China," Girija Prasad Koirala, presidentof the ruling Nepali Congress and former Prime Minister said.
Many political party leaders and political analysts think that theMaoists are hatching a conspiracy to end the democratic system, and "theyknow that it is not possible to establish dogmatic communist system inthis age of new millennium", says a senior leader of the main oppositionparty, the Unified Marxist and Leninist Communist Party of Nepal. After visiting the Maoist-affected areas of western Achham districtU.S. ambassador Michael E. Malinowski said the Maoists were like the al-Qaida, Taliban and Abu Sayaaf terrorist groups. Malinowski said the Maoists are killing innocent people, destroying development infrastructure including telecommunications, roads, bridges, healthfacilities and government building and vehicles, and have shattered the economy ofthe country, one of the poorest in the world.
"If you look at the way of the Maoists, you will find that the Maoistsand the Taliban terrorists of Afghanistan are similar," says a rulingNepali Congress member of Parliament, again on condition of anonymity. "The Maoists destroyed the factories, private boarding schools wherethe English language is taught, made a dress code for young girls, triedto stop the consumption of alcohol and stopped the cabin restaurants inthe cities. [All] that is only to bargain for money. They are terrorists, "says a businessman who was forced to give the rebels almost $3,000, a small fortunehere.
"Maoists have no principles, they are criminal gangs", one diplomat frpoma Western country told the American Reporter. "How can a party involved in rape, looting, extorting money, abduction,murder, killings, suppression and terrorism rule the country?" asks a local elected representative of the opposition party.
The government has declared that the Maoists will be eradicated by the Nepalese army.
"The terrorism will be rooted out," Prime Minister Deuba addressing the nation has sai.
Intelligence officials say the Maoists have connections to some Indian separatist organizations, and that there may be links with the Kashmiri separatists directly supported by al-Qaida, the terrorist organization founded by Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
"The time has come to abolish terrorists from the world, and though small,Nepal's Maoists also left the negotiation table and stayed in the field as terrorists - that is soon to be finished," says a former cabinet minister.
American Reporter Correspondent Chiranjibi Paudyal has covered Maoist violence and other stories from his base in Kathmandu since 2000. He also heads the Nepalese News Association, a Himalayan wire service.