Nepali Times Asian Paints
Headline
Time to kill



CHONG ZI LIANG
LAZY DAYS: Maoist ex-guerrilla Nisana and her four-year-old son Nirak Khadka while their time away in the Surkhet cantonment.
Cooking may be just about the most demanding and time-consuming activity going on in the Maoist camp in Surkhet these days. The ex-guerrillas here spend six hours daily in the kitchen.

Morning drill is the only official activity. Guerrillas who once roamed the mountains, planning attacks on army bases, now play carom all day. And if it's not too hot, they muster the energy for a game of volleyball.

The fighters say they are content with life in the cantonment. Says 32-year-old DBS Rana: "Peace has come to our land and we are enjoying every moment of it." There is also anticipation here that with UNMIN's mandate srunning out in June, cantonment life will come to an end one way or another.

The all-party Army Integration Special Committee has finally started regular meetings and sent a technical committee to the seven cantonments and 21 sub-cantonments across the country.

"Our target is to conclude the process by June, but even if we can't meet that deadline we will have decided on how many to integrate and how many to rehabilitate," says committee member Mohamad Habibullah of the MJF.

There are nearly 20,000 verified guerrillas in the cantonments, but the situation is complicated by the presence of some 4,000 adolescents and children rejected by UNMIN who continue to live in the camps.

UNMIN has to present a mid-term report to the Security Council in New York in mid-April, but there is skepticism that the committee can finish its work by the time its mandate expires in June.

Chong Zi Liang and Dewan Rai



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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