Maoists nab soldier ‘engaged in extortion’

Kathmandu, September 1 :

Maoist cadres have nabbed a Nepal Army soldier and five others from the Danchhi area of Kathmandu district accusing them of being involved in raising money from locals posing as Maoists.

The youth, who were captured on Thursday evening, were presented today before the media at the liaison office of the Maoists’ sister organisations at Kupondol, Lalitpur. They have been identified as 22-year-old pyuth of the Nepali Army Ganga Lal Rajbahak stationed at Kalidhwoj Gan in Bhojpur district, Purna Lal Rajbahak, Santalal Rajbahak, Bisal Tamang (all from Khulaltar village) and Sitaram Bhandari of Jyamire village, Sindhupalchowk.

Pawanman Shrestha, president of the Maoist-affiliated Newar National Liberation Front, told reporters that his cadres nabbed four youth after they stopped a vehicle carrying a group of Maoists at Danchhi at about 8 pm after they were returning from a cultural show in the nearby area.

Shrestha said three of his cadres were injured, one of them seriously, after the youth attacked them and demanded cash, claiming to be members of the Maoist-affiliated Tamang National Liberation Front.

Shrestha said the four youth were blocking the road and demanding money from vehicle owners plying on the road, an allegation the youth refuted.

Pyuth Ganga Rajbahak told the media they were returning home after working in the fields and were drunk. He said he did not remember what went wrong.

He, however, admitted that they had lied to the Maoists that they belonged to the Tamang National Liberation Front. “But we did not have any intention of robbing people as we hail from the same area,” Ganga Rajbahak said, adding, “We did stop the vehicle but had no ill intention.”

Shrestha said they were presenting them before the media to show how others were involved in the looting spree posing as Maoists. He said they would hand them over to the human rights defenders and have told them not to repeat such acts. Fifth youth, Bhandari, was also nabbed on charges of raising money from locals with the help of two of his friends posing as Maoist, according to a Maoist, Him Shikhar. Bhandari, a local contractor, pleaded innocent.