Nepal UN mission speaks out after Maoist commander violates arms agreement

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28 April 2010The United Nations political mission in Nepal today called for an investigation and appropriate disciplinary action after a Maoist army platoon commander was discovered to be travelling on public transport with a hand grenade. “Holding and carrying arms in violation of the law is legally punishable and a breach of the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA),” the mission, known as UNMIN, said in a statement.Under that agreement, the Maoist army has committed to confine its combatants within cantonments and register them with UNMIN, as well as register and safely store all its weapons and ammunition at the seven main cantonment sites under 24-hour UN monitoring – except those weapons kept for perimeter security and leadership security purposes.“UNMIN condemns this reckless risk to life and calls on the UCPN-M [Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist] to cooperate fully in an investigation and take appropriate disciplinary actions,” it stated. The mission is responsible for monitoring the management of arms and armed personnel of both the Maoists and the Nepal Army, as well as in assisting in monitoring ceasefire arrangements. The commander, Santosh Rai from Main Cantonment 2 in Sinduli, was discovered in possession the hand grenade while travelling on 27 April.UNMIN also called on UCPN-M and all parties to adhere strictly to the peace agreements and refrain from any provocative statements or actions.A decade-long civil war, claiming some 13,000 lives, ended in 2006 with the signing of a peace accord between the Government and Maoists. After conducting Constituent Assembly elections in May 2008, the nation abolished its 240-year-old monarchy and declared itself a republic.UNMIN was established in 2007 as a special political mission tasked with helping advance the peace process. It has been extended through mid-May this year to assist in the management of arms and army personnel contained in the cantonments.

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