After living in United Nations-monitored cantonments for three years, the disqualified combatants of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have started going back their homes on Thursday.

As a first step, more than 200 former combatants were released from the Sindhuli cantonment in the presence of government officials and representatives of the United Missions in Nepal (UMIN), which has been monitoring the former combatants and their arms since 2006.

Before leaving the camps, they were provided civilian clothing and new identity cards. They were also briefed about the rehabilitation options. The government of Nepal, with the support of the U.N., will give these people an opportunity to learn new skills.

It was decided in 2006 when the government and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord to discharge the ‘disqualified’ combatants, which largely comprised minors.

But the process could not materialise for three years and the mandate of UNMIN had to be extended for four times.

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