Maoists kidnapped 14 Gurkha soldiers, who were home on leave from their service in the Indian army. Gurkhas, one of the many tribal minorities in Nepal, have supplied Britain with mercenary troops for nearly two centuries, and India as well, since India became independent in 1947. For the last two years, Maoists have been attacking and extorting retired Gurkha soldiers, who are often the wealthiest men in their villages, because of their pensions. There are about 100,000 retired Gurkha soldiers, most of them from the Indian army (only about 3,600 currently serve in the British army, ten times that number serve in India.) Few of the Gurkhas are pro-Maoist, and many are actively anti-Maoist.