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Child soldiers



The Maoists have intensified their campaign to train child soldiers in their strongholds in midwestern Nepal. A highly placed Maoist source said secondary and higher secondary students in many villages are being trained in secret camps. In line with the decision of their high command, the rebels' target is to have 50,000 child soldiers by April. A senior leader of the party indicated that the latest abduction of students from Achham and Rolpa was for this purpose.

Called the Special Peoples' Military Campaign, it is being run in what the rebels call 'model districts' in the remote Jumla and Jajarkot, areas where state power is almost non-existent. In the last month, 15,000 recruits are said to have completed basic training. The trainings have three phases and are being conducted in 'bas&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#'&#̵'216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;216;', 'model' and 'special' areas controlled by the Maoists.

While the core Maoists and their student members are all out to train more children, locals are fleeing their villages from fear of having to join the Maoist recruitment drive. Nim Bahadur Rawal left Dailekh and is now in Gujarat. When he arrived in Nepalganj, he reported that that the rebels were training all school students to use rifles. "The Maoists said all school students need to know how to use guns, or else the army will gun all of us down," he said. "We were lucky because we could get away. There are hundreds of students who have had to walk for more than a week to reach the training camps." The Bheri Karnali regional branch of the All Nepal National Free Students' Union (Revolutionary), the student wing of the Maoists, says it has a new mission. According to Kamal Shahi, regional coordinator, the Maoist student organisation is already in the process of strengthening itself both militarily and politically.

The multi-pronged approach comes in the wake of the military operation at Mudbhara in Doti district where some trainee students lost their lives. "That is why we have began this training campaign under the campaign 'one educational institution, one reformed militia'," says Shahi, who is also a member of the central secretariat of the ANNFSU (R). He claimed his organisation has already created a military force equal to a battalion in a regular army. He said the Maoists would soon have 50,000 militia and 375,000 members.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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