UN monitoring team’s office set up

Nepalgunj, January 10:

The United Nations’ monitoring team today set up its office in Nepalgunj to carry out the inspection of Maoist cantonments and barracks of the Nepal Army located in mid-western and far-western regions.

The team inspected the Nepalgunj-based fourth brigade of the NA yesterday. It is scheduled to inspect the Surkhet-based mid-western division of the NA and the sixth division of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Dashrathpur tomorrow.

Announcing the establishment of the office at a press meet organised here today, leader of the eight-member UN monitoring team, Julien Bibeau, said: “Inspection of barracks of the NA and the Maoist camps located in the mid-western and far-western regions will be completed by January 15.”

The process of verification and registration of the Maoist militia and arms will begin was the inspection is completed, Bibeau said, adding: “The first phase of the monitoring will be completed by January 22.”

Isha Albarameh is the assistant team leader.

Stating that the monitoring team will work together with the NA and the Maoist army, Bibeau said: “Until electronic sirens are installed in NA and Maoist camps, help of ex-Gurkha soldiers selected recently will be sought for monitoring.”

He added that the work of centralising the Maoist army scattered in different places and arrangement of necessary physical infrastructure for the monitoring team near Maoist cantonments will begin soon. The team will also inspect sites where the Maoist army and the NA have planted landmines.

He added that the actual number of Maoist soldiers and their weapons will be estimated after a detailed, fair and transparent monitoring of the camps.

There are three divisions of the Maoist PLA in western Nepal — the Dahaban (Rolpa)-based fifth division, Dashrathpur (Surkhet)-based sixth division and Masuriya (Kailali)-based seventh division. The NA’s mid-western division is situated at Surkhet and the far- western division at Dipayal.

The monitoring team comprises a Canadian, three Jordanians, three Yemenis and a Guatemalan. Most of the team members are retired military personnel.