Just when there is talk again of a Tihar ceasefire, the army has begun an offensive in the Maoist heartland of Rolpa and Rukum. The army has launched air and land attacks against rebels in the bordering villages of both districts from the south. The security offensive was launched after the military received information that armed rebels were gathering in huge numbers for possible attacks against security force camps in the area. Maoists have, in the past, gathered in Thawang, Rolpa before launching major attacks in the western districts. This time, the army decided to deploy troops right into the rebel base. The Maoists have claimed that a third military brigade has been formed and even central leaders have arrived in Thawang to plan a big attack. An army official said the idea is to strike the rebels right in their den and decimate their strength.
The army has established temporary camps in Ghartigaun, Bhawang and Kureli after being dropped from helicopters. There is a lot of chopper activity and more troops are being moved in. The army's Nepalganj-based western regional headquarters said the Dang brigade was leading the offensive in Rolpa and Rukum. Locals say the army operation is bigger than a previous campaign before Dasain. Spokesperson of the army's western headquarters in Nepalganj, Yagya Bahadur Rajaure, characterised the military activity in Rolpa and Rukum as a strategy for "area domination". He had no other details of casualties on either side.