Nepal Army chief General Chatraman Singh Gurung has refused en masse integration of former Maoist rebels into the army saying it could affect organizational unity and even lead to the country’s disintegration.
Gurung expressed these views in a meeting with UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe in Kathmandu on Friday when the latter asked him on how many former rebels could be integrated into the army.
A statement issued by Directorate of Public Relations of Nepal Army quoted Gurung as stating that only those former Maoist combatants who meet the criteria for recruitment can be accommodated in the army.
The Army Chief told Pascoe that since the former rebels are “politically indoctrinated” it would pose problems to integrate them in bulk into the “disciplined, professional, competitive and apolitical” Nepal Army.
Gurung stated that en masse entry of Maoist rebels would break up organizational unity of the army, lead to its ‘politicisation’ and could even lead to disintegration of the country. Integration of the former rebels into the Nepal Army is a major obstacle in the country’s peace process with the opposition UCPN (Maoist) seeking large scale integration and other parties opposing it. There is also doubt on the actual number of former rebels.
While the Maoist chief had stated on one occasion that their number was around 7,000, a UN verification had stated that there were over 19000 of them.