Nepal: The Phantom Army

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January 2, 2008: After months of investigations, the UN found that 40 percent of the 32,000 men and women who claimed to be part of the Maoist fighting forces, were not. As part of the ceasefire, the Maoists fighters were to report to 28 UN run camps, and stay there until a peace deal was worked out. The UN was initially suspicious because the number of weapons surrendered was far less than the number of "fighters" who showed up. The Maoists sent many unarmed members of their organization to the camps, just to inflate the numbers and make the Maoists look more powerful than they actually were. The deception was discovered after UN investigators interviewed most of the people in the camps.

The parliament passed a bill abolishing the monarchy. But this won't take effect until after the new constituent assembly is elected in three months, and approves the resolution. That's a big if, but it's enough to satisfy the Maoists, for the moment.

Despite the Maoist and ethnic violence, tourists have still been coming to Nepal in record numbers. Last year, 360,000 tourists arrived, 27 percent more than the previous year. Most of the violence takes place in remote areas that are not visited by tourists.

 

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