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Shushila Magar
By Nik Millard
Video producer in Nepal

Shushila Magar is 24 years old and a fighter with the Nepali Maoist Militia for the Ropal district.

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She can often be recognised by the red, yellow & green bandana she wears with a huge cannabis leaf insignia.

At the age of 16, Shushila was arrested by the police on suspicion of being a Maoist sympathiser. She was imprisoned for three days and constantly tortured.

When she was released, she saw no alternative but to join the Maoists and embark on a struggle for the freedom of her people.


We followed her training for a mission on the days leading up to the 22 March 2004.

Shushila had never been filmed, or even seen a film crew before.

On the 22 March she went out on her first mission with the ambush squad.

After getting up, writing in her diary and eating breakfast, she finished making the pipe bomb and set out to lay it.

It would be a really tough decision whether or not to kill innocent people in an ambush
Shushila Magar

The objective was to make a booby-trap - using mainly household items like matches, light bulbs and a camera flash - and kill any government forces that tried to enter the Maoist area.

During one of the interviews we asked Shushila if she considered herself a terrorist. She said she did not and explained at length why not.

No fighting happened that day. Most of the time, the militia sat around doing nothing, but when there is a clash, it is usually a very bloody one.

We asked her whether the army used local civilians as human shields. She said they did and that it would be a really tough decision whether or not to kill innocent people in an ambush.

But ultimately, she said, if by killing half a dozen innocent people to save the population of two or three villages from tortures, killings and rapes, then she would do it.

One Day of War was broadcast in the UK on Thursday, 27 May, 2004 at 2100 BST on BBC Two.

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