Ameet Dhakal

Inadequate food, facilities alleged

KATHMANDU: Over 6,000 Maoist combatants have come out of two cantonment sites in Chitwan and Kalaiya districts in protest against "inadequate" provision of food and shelter.

The combatants complained that the Government had failed to provide them with adequate money for food, shelter and other essential expenses.

The U.N. Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which is mandated to monitor the Maoists' arms and armies, said the combatants' action is a breach of the arms agreement signed by the Government, the Maoists and the U.N. The Nepali Army also expressed its displeasure over the incident. "It is a violation of the tripartite agreement. There was no need to leave the cantonment," said General Shivaram Kharel, who represents the army in a coordination committee that looks after the management of the camps.

However, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara defended the combatants' action, saying they had no money for food and other expenses.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula on Thursday requested the combatants to return to the cantonments.

Over 3,000 combatants in Kalaiya started leaving the camps early on Thursday morning heading towards nearby villages "in search of temporary works". A similar number of combatants left camps in Shaktikhor, Chitwan, during the last two days.