THT 10 YEARS AGO: Extension of UNMIN’s term unlikely: Ban

Kathmandu, May 17, 2008

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon has said he does not anticipate the extension of the term of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).

The term, extended in January, ends on July 23. “I do not anticipate a further extension of the mandate of UNMIN, but the United Nations stands ready to provide continuing support for the completion and consolidation of the peace process and for the long-term development of Nepal,” the secretary general said in a report released today. “My Special Representative and the Resident Coordinator will be in discussion with the new government once it is formed regarding whatever assistance it may request.

These are critical times for longterm stability in Nepal, and the UN will remain by the side of the people and leaders of Nepal in the historic tasks of political and social transformation on which they have embarked,” he added He called on all political parties to remain focused on Nepal’s long-term interests. “Shortterm differences should not distract them from governing by consensus and from cooperating in the vital task of constitution-making.”

The secretary-general described the CA polls held on April 28 as historic, and said the desire and commitment of the people of Nepal for peace and change was the driving force behind this success.

Army personnel hand in glove with poachers?

Kathmandu, May 17, 2008

An official at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) said today that over 30 Nepal Army soldiers are caught every year for helping poachers.

“Every year, over 30 soldiers are caught with proof of helping poachers. They are punished internally,” Surya Bahadur Pande, under-secretary at the DNPWC, told this daily. Pande, however, refused to give details.

Around 5,600 army men, including technicians and assisting staffers, have been deployed in nine national parks and five wildlife reserves for over two decades.

The army men deployed in national parks and wildlife reserves may not be involved in poaching, but they are found to be involved in smuggling of forest products, Pande said. “NA soldiers can shoot poachers if the latter try to dodge or attack defenders of parks,” Pande said. “The accusation levelled against the NA is baseless,” NA spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri said, adding, “It seems somebody is trying to defame the NA for some reason.” It may be noted that three NA deserters and one soldier were arrested from Maina Pokhar of Gola VDC on May 9 on the charge of involvement in poaching of two rhinos in the Bardiya National Park on April 3 and April 26.

Animal parts and arms were also seized from them. The arrested were identified as NA soldier Jaya Bahadur Shari and deserters Ramesh Kumar Tharu, Binod Shah and Om Prakash Basyaula.