Once war-makers, now peace-keepersAs many as 28 former Maoist fighters who during the decade-long insurgency made war on the state now are set to work as peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
As many as 28 former Maoist fighters who during the decade-long insurgency made war on the state now are set to work as peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The 28 former fighters, who were part of the 850-strong battalion of the Nepal Army that left for DRC last week, were among the 1,420 Maoist combatants who were integrated into the Nepal Army on July 5, 2013. The deployment of these 28 personnel to DRC marks the beginning of participation of ex-combatants in UN peacekeeping missions.
This year alone, three more battalions—two in South Sudan and one in Lebanon—will be deployed. Each battalion will have around 25 former Maoist combatants.
“They proved that they can be part of the UN peacekeeping force,” said Nepal Army Spokesperson Brigadier General Tara Bahadur Karki. “As an integral part of the Army, they will have representation in every peacekeeping mission now onward.”
Nepal is a major troop contributor to the UN
peacekeeping missions since 1958, and 110,771 Nepal Army personnel from
different ranks have served in various peace missions till date.
Nepal has the sixth largest share in the UN peacekeeping mission after Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda.
At present 4,365 personnel, including 96 female soldiers, are serving in various countries.
The decade-long insurgency ended in 2006 following a peace agreement, and as per an agreement reached between the government and the former rebels, the combatants were to be integrated into the national defence force.
The United Nations Missions in Nepal had verified 19,000 individuals as former Maoist fighters. It, however, took seven long years to integrate the former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army.