From The Nepali Press
Samaya, 12 August
FROM ISSUE #261 (19 AUG 2005 - 25 AUG 2005) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The Royal Nepali Army is equipped with modern weaponry and by now has gained enough experience fighting the rebels. But this did not show in Pili, where the soldiers were mostly armed with SLRs rather than M-16s. Over half of the soldiers attacked by the rebels were non-combatants and didn't have military training. The 81mm mortars were said to be defective. Also, they paid scant attention to stepping up security around the bunker and outposts when they established the temporary base camp two weeks ago. The RNA is said to have little knowledge about the local terrain. Its Ranger battalion arrived from Kathmandu 30 hours after the Maoists had abandoned the destroyed camp and launched a search operation in upper Kalikot jungles but by that time the Maoists had reportedly fled to Accham. The rebels are publicising this attack as one of the greatest achievements of their 'strategic offensive' phase. However, the mutilated corpses of soldiers will make it tough for them to defend the serious allegations that they violated international humanitarian law. Rebels reportedly mutilated the genitals, limbs and tongues of some of the soldiers before shooting them, while some were burnt alive with their hands and legs tied. Prachanda has denied these allegations. But the attack on soldiers assigned to road construction itself proves that the Maoists violated humanitarian law. It also shows the rebels' political section is now dominated by its powerful military wing. The Pili attack also makes it less likely now that the party-Maoist dialogue will go ahead.