Nepal Maoists suspect new arms supplies for army
Maoists said they suspected the Govt of amassing weapons for its army, highlighting the continued mistrust between both sides.india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 12:14 IST
Nepal's Maoist rebels said on Wednesday they suspected the multi-party government of amassing weapons for its army, highlighting the continued mistrust between both sides despite a slow peace process.
Dozens of army trucks thought to be carrying arms were headed for Kathmandu through a highway linking it with the southern plains bordering India, rebel spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara told the agency but did not say where they came from.
"The trucks are now in military barracks near Gajuri," Mahara said referring to a village 70 km west of the capital.
"We think they are carrying arms."
India, Nepal's giant neighbour, has supplied arms including automatic rifles in the past to the army to fight the rebels.
An army spokesman denied the trucks were transporting weapons.
"It is a normal convoy move. There are no arms and ammunition," Brigadier General Nepal Bhusan Chand said.
The Maoists and government agreed to a ceasefire in May after King Gyanendra ceded absolute power and restored multi-party rule in April following weeks of mass protests.
The two sides are also holding talks to end the revolt aimed at turning the Himalayan nation into a communist state.
The Maoists say the government is dragging its feet over a power-sharing deal with them that includes elections to a special assembly next year that will decide a new constitution.
In July, the government and rebels agreed to confine their respective armies and weapons to temporary camps and barracks under United Nations supervision, but suspicions remain.
"The government must create an atmosphere of confidence for talks and lock up the weapons and keep them under the United Nations supervision," said Ananta, another top Maoist leader.
He said if the army was bringing in arms, it would be a violation of the truce code of conduct signed in May.
More than 13,000 people have died since the Maoist insurgency began in 1996 to topple the monarchy.