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Stolen weapons




NAYAN TARA

The Maoists and the government have both agreed to disarm and permit arms monitoring by the UN to prepare for the interim government and constituent assembly. However neither party has publicly clarified its stock of weapons. The Nepal Army is reportedly in the process of preparing statistics on the arms stolen by the Maoists from both the police and army. The Maoists took most of their weapons from the police and, according to our sources, stolen arms account for 80 percent of their weapons. In 10 years of fighting, the Maoists have taken over 3,000 weapons from security forces. The army says that the Maoists stole 1,499 .303 rifles from the police and also captured more than 385 SLRs during their November 2001 attack on Dang. At a press conference last year, the police said that 2,286 of the .303 rifles were taken and 288 were recaptured by the police.

Although security forces have successfully recovered weapons on many occasions, they have not recaptured all of them from the Maoists, who have also stolen: Colt Commando rifles (one), LMGs (56), GPMGs (4) Chinese Sniper rifles (3), Galil rifles (5), INSAS rifles (138), M16s (5) and LMSWs (3). Army headquarters has always been reluctant to talk about stolen weapons because they believe it would affect soldiers' morale. When they have publicly admitted the loss, the numbers have always been less than the actual amount taken. To boost soldiers' confidence, the army has repeated that the Maoists are armed with outdated, small weapons and failed to acknowledge their more powerful arms. Another army source told us that in the last four and a half years the Maoists have captured four GPMGs, 15 two-inch mortars, eight 81mm cannons, five 40mm rocket launchers and one 51mm mortar. Immediately after the Dang attack, then COAS Prajjwal Shamsher mobilised the army to recover stolen weapons but the plan failed because the Maoists took more.



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638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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