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Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 15:48 GMT
Nepal's Maoist insurgency reignites
Maoist rebels
The Maoists will probably be declared a terrorist group
Daniel Lak

The attacks by Maoist rebels in Nepal come after a long period of calm when both the insurgents and the government were trying to resolve their differences through peace talks.

Both sides had also called a ceasefire after more than five years of conflict that left nearly 2,000 people dead.

In the third and most recent round of talks, the Maoists had even dropped demands for an end to constitutional monarchy, but last week the leader of the insurgents declared that the ceasefire was over.

The upsurge in violence, which included for the first time attacks on the Royal Nepalese Army, soon followed.

Planning

They were audacious and extremely well-planned attacks.

Members of the Nepalese security forces
The powers of security forces are likely to be enhanced
It is hard to imagine a more decisive message from the Maoists that what they call their "people's war" is far from over.

In Kathmandu and around the country, there had been much speculation that the Maoists were either weakening or planning to return to the political mainstream.

No-one thinks that way anymore.

It is clear that the Maoists were planning these attacks even as they began peace talks in August.

This will make it difficult for ministers to trust them if, as their leader Comrade Prachanda has said, they still want dialogue to resolve their differences with the government.

Some in Nepal believe that Prachanda was facing increasing opposition within his own ranks to the peace talks and had to back this violence.

Army role

There is so little information about the extremist rebels that all such analysis is pure speculation.

Nepalese children
The Maoists say they are fighting a "people's war"
One thing is certain though - the Royal Nepalese Army will soon take up a greater role in fighting the rebels.

Earlier concerns that deploying the army to fight on Nepalese soil was akin to civil war have vanished after the death of soldiers in the latest attacks.

The Maoists will probably be officially declared a terrorist group, which is seen as a way to get international support for any harsh action.

Tough tactics have been tried before by the authorities and they have not succeeded.

Most Nepalese still think peace talks and development spending are the best way to end the people's war but now it seems the Himalayan kingdom is in for a round of violence and conflict.

See also:

23 Nov 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Maoist threat to Nepal peace
31 Aug 01 | South Asia
Hopes of Nepal breakthrough
28 Jul 01 | South Asia
Nepal Maoists tell of world plans
14 May 01 | South Asia
Nepal's growing rural revolt
19 Jul 01 | South Asia
Timeline: Nepal
30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Nepal
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