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Nepal to scrap unified command

Kathmandu, July 3: The Girija Prasad Koirala government today decided to dismantle the Unified Security Command which functioned for about three years under the Nepal Army’s control.

The cabinet decision means that the Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and the National Investigation Department, which were being controlled by the Nepal Army for counter-insurgency and intelligence operations, will return to their original tasks. The cabinet decision will be ratified tomorrow.

The Unified Command was created by the Surya Bahadur Thapa government in November 2003 after the Maoist rebels rejected the peace talks and launched a major attack on army posts in Doramba village in central Nepal, killing 20 soldiers.

Government spokesman and information minister Dilendra Prasad Baru said after the meeting that more than 4,000 police personnel, who took orders from the Unified Command, would be freed from their responsibilities.

In response to the cabinet decision, the Maoist rebels announced that they were scrapping the dreaded peoples’ courts. In a statement here this evening, Maoist supremo Prachanda also ordered his party cadre to stop extortions.

“In view of the ongoing peace process, we have directed our district units not to raise donations forcibly, impose tax and hold people’s courts in the bigger cities and the capital for the time being,” he said.

However, he hastened to add that till an interim government is formed with the participation of the Maoists, the rebels would be forced to collect donations to maintain their guerrilla army and run their so-called people’s government.

“However, the donations will be voluntary, he said, adding that “nobody will be forced to pay money”.

Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister K.P. Sharma Oli had yesterday warned that the government would take action against the Maoists if they did not stop holding the courts immediately.

Addressing a programme in eastern Nepal, Oli said that despite a code of conduct agreement with the government, the Maoists were carrying out abductions.

“The government cannot give leverage to the Maoists to abduct people on the support of their army and hassle them by appointing a few immature boys as advocates and judges,”he said.

In a separate development, the Maoists and the government agreed to keep the rebel army and the Nepal Army under the supervision of the UN during the polls.

“It is the duty of every patriotic and democratic Nepali to establish a republic through peaceful elections to the constituent Assembly,” Prachanda said.

Last week, US ambassador to Nepal James Moriarty said Washington could stop aid if the Maoists joined the government without giving up arms.

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