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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 10:27 GMT
Nepalese army dismisses ceasefire
A Nepalese Maoist guerrilla woman holds a rifle while watching an armed exercise in Bhojpur, eastern Nepal
The rebels have extended their truce by a month
The Nepalese army chief has dismissed the Maoist rebels' ceasefire as nothing but a ploy.

General Pyar Jung Thapa said the rebels were still carrying out abuses such as recruiting children and threatening families of security personnel.

On Friday, the rebels extended their three-month unilateral ceasefire by one month until early January 2006.

International communities and national political parties have been urging the government to respond to the ceasefire.

The Maoists have not yet commented on these allegations.

About 12,000 people have died in Nepal's 10-year-old insurgency.

Fragile balance

General Thapa was speaking during a visit to an army battalion in Dholkha district, east of Kathmandu, on Monday.

Nepal's King Gyanendra
King Gyanendra - under pressure to join the ceasefire

He said that the rebels were not serious about restoring peace in the country.

He also said that the rebels had kidnapped over 8,000 people since the ceasefire started.

The BBC's Bhagirath Yogi in Kathmandu says the government does not trust the rebels as they have twice walked out of peace talks with the authorities.

The rebels, on the other hand, blame the government for not being sincere in finding a negotiated settlement.

The Maoists and seven opposition parties agreed last month to form an alliance to restore democracy and called for elections to a constituent assembly to be held under UN supervision.

The rebels say they will place themselves under the supervision of the United Nations or another credible international organisation ahead of such elections.

Outside involvement

The European Union (EU) has called on the Nepal's King Gyanendra to reciprocate the Maoists' ceasefire and to create a conducive environment for peace.

Maoists in rural Nepal
Army chief says the rebels have continued with their activities

In a statement the EU also urged the rebels to announce an "immediate cessation of violence for political ends".

The EU also said that the UN should become involved and help broker peace and monitor a ceasefire agreement.

The government has rejected any outside involvement in the issue.

The Maoists have been fighting for the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a communist republic.

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