Kathmandu : The Maoists in Nepal have rushed to put out a rebellion in their party and spruce up their tarnished image as they returned to local authorities the firearms looted by dissidents from a police post three days ago.
Bhanu Bhakta Pokhrel, chief administrative officer of Nuwakot district, where the rebels in the Maoist party had attacked a poorly guarded police post Thursday, told the official media the stolen arms had been returned.
“The Maoists returned two rifles, a pistol, ammunition and two handcuffs they looted from the police post in Fikuri village,” Pokhrel said Sunday.
However, the fate of the nearly 50 dissidents who had staged the attack under the leadership of their former area in-charge Raj Bahadur Regmi, known in the party as Sandesh, was not known immediately.
Though security forces launched a massive manhunt to ferret out the rebels, they are yet to locate them.
However, the Maoist leadership, alarmed at the rebellion announced by the faction and anxious to put it down, sent members of their controversial youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), to the area to search for the missing comrades.
The YCL discovered Sandesh’s hideout and took him under their control. Since they recovered the entire stolen arsenal, it is also likely that they have several other rebels in their control.
However, they are yet to hand them over to the government. Nor did the government, which has failed to take any action against lawbreaking YCL cadres, dare to ask the guerrillas to hand them over to it.
The attack, violating the peace pact the guerrillas signed with the government last year, shocked Nepal, coming as it did on the eve of a historic election to be held in November.
Former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who was unable to hold general elections during his tenure due to the Maoist insurgency, has criticised the government, saying if it was unable to protect its own police forces, it was inconceivable it would be able to hold free and fair elections.
Though the Maoists ended their 10-year People’s War and agreed to take part in the November election, there are at least six dissident rebel factions that have started separate armed revolts.