9-member secretariat to ease army integration

KATHMANDU: The Special Committee on Monitoring, Rehabilitation and Integration of Maoist combatants today endorsed a directive paving way to bring the combatants under the chain of command of the Special Committee (SC).

According to the directive, a nine-member secretariat will monitor, control and direct the combatants. Once after the secretariat members are appointed, the 19,602 Maoist combatants will come under the SC's command.

The SC will then move ahead with the process of rehabilitation and integration of the combatants through the secretariat.

The secretariat will comprise of one member each from three government security bodies - Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army, one member from Unified CPN-Maoist, one coordinator and four experts. The secretariat will also comprise one member secretary.

"The coordinator will be appointed through consensus and ex-army officials and former secretaries of the government will join the secretariat as experts," said Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, a SC member. The SC would finalise the names of the secretariat members in the next meeting through consensus, Mahat added.

However, the UCPN-M has been demanding three representatives from the party instead of one.

"The mechanism to bring the combatants under the command of SC has been finalised. Within few days, the mechanism will start functioning," said Dr Mahat.

The next meeting of the SC is scheduled for February 3. The meeting is scheduled to finalise the work plan proposed by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The work plan has specified the schedule and timetable to rehabilitate and integrate the combatants. "The work plan is almost final and the SC will endorse it in the next meeting,” Dr Mahat maintained.

Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Rakam Chemjong said that the directive defined how to control, manage and monitor the combatants.The SC will move ahead with the integration process through the secretariat, he added. The SC has already finalised code of ethics for the combatants.

The secretariat will monitor on whether or not the combatants are obeying the code of ethics.