RNA blames Pili loss on sub-standard arms

Kathmandu, August 12:

The Royal Nepalese Army today attributed the heavy casualties it suffered to sub standard weapons and the fact that the Pili base was chosen for road construction for technological rather than tactical reasons. Responding to Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s recent statement that RNA’s efforts against Maoists were proving ineffective, Brig Gen Dipak Gurung told mediapersons here today, “Soldiers were using INSAS rifles when they fought for 10 hours in Kalikot. INSAS (Infantry Small Arms System) rifles are probably not designed for long battles like that of Kalikot and the weapons malfunctioned”. He added,”It does not mean that the rebels were using superior weapons. It is just that Maoists came in overwhelming numbers.” Moreover, the place was tactically not favourable, he said. The government had bought INSAS from the Indian government at 30 per cent of its total cost. The army accepted that 75 of their soldiers are still missing. A wounded soldier, who is undergoing treatment in the military hospital in Kathmandu, was shown in a video clip as saying that the Maoists had shot dead 10 to 12 soldiers after capturing them. “They told us to surrender, tied soldiers’ hands and legs, and shot some dead,” said the survivor. Human Rights activists who had observed the bodies were also shown in a video clip testifying the army claim.