Nepal | May 26, 2020

Security forces on high alert after IS threat

Lekhanath Pandey
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Kathmandu, July 25

Nepali security forces have been on high alert after they received information that Islamic State might target Koshi barrage in Nepal.

Indian Embassy in Kathmandu last week shared an intelligence report with the Nepali side that claims the international terrorist organisation was likely to target the barrage across the largest river in Nepal.

A senior Indian Embassy officer confirmed that the intelligence had already been shared with the concerned authorities of Nepal. “We have been assured by the Nepali authorities that necessary security measures will be taken,” he told The Himalayan Times.

The barrage, built in 1962, is a flood control sluice across the Koshi River in Saptari and Sunsari districts. Both Nepali and Indian security forces guard it.

Home Ministry Spokesperson Yadav Prasad Koirala said the security had been on high alert since the terrorist attack in Dhaka, on July 1, and the ministry was verifying the information provided by the Indian side.

According to him, all the security agencies, including the Nepali Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and National Intelligence Department are on high alert to “foil any possible threat to any part of the country, particularly the vital installations like highways, bridges, airports”.

The Indian side has cautioned that the target might have been chosen to cause maximum damage in both Nepal and India, particularly Bihar by breaking the 56-gate barrage.

Nepali Army Spokesperson Brig Gen Tara Bahadur Karki told The Himalayan Times that all security forces have taken the information seriously. He, however, stated that “terrorist groups might spread rumours of attack in one area, but target another”.

“There is no particular area, limit or time for a terrorist attack,” he added. “It could be happen anywhere, anytime. Therefore, we have to be vigilant and we are so all the time.”

Meanwhile, according to a statement issued by the Directorate of Public Relations of the Nepali Army today, Chief of Army Staff Gen Rajendra Chhetri said, “The army was closely monitoring the political and security situation in the country and pledged to foil any threat to national security.”

“It’s the responsibility of the Nepali Army to tackle if any serious threat against the nation’s security,” the statement quoted Gen Chhetri as saying at a function held at the Army Headquarters.

A version of this article appears in print on July 26, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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