Modern weapons looted by Maoists from NA have reached Chand’s cadres

The police arrested one Dev Kumar Limbu of the Netra Bikram Chand (Biplav) led CPN from Panmara, Dharan-6 with an M 16 rifle and a light machine gun (LMG) on Wednesday. The LMG’s stand and two sets of magazines, and a magazine of M 16 were also seized from the member of party’s Koshi bureau and in-charge of Morang and Dhankuta districts.

Police sources say the two weapons seized from 42-year-old Limbu were looted from the Nepal Army (NA) during the Maoist insurgency. “The NA itself is investigating when and from which barrack the weapons were looted,” a source at the Nepal Police headquarters told Setopati. “The NA has sent preliminary information saying the weapons were looted by the Maoists from Rolpa.”

M 16 is an American rifle while the LMG was made in India. The LMGs are used by both the NA and Armed Police Force (APF) in Nepal but the M 16s are used exclusively by the NA.

M 16 has an effective firing range of up to 800 meters and a maximum firing range of up to 3,600 meters, and can fire at the rate of 700-950 rounds per minute when operated at automatic mode and 45-60 rounds per minute at semi-automatic.

The Indian LMG can fire at the rate of 600-650 rounds per minute when operated at automatic mode and 20-30 rounds per minute at semi-automatic. One can even fire at a circular range of targets when the LMG is operated with a stand.

The Nepal Police headquarters has sent a team led by DSP from its intelligence bureau to investigate the activities of Chand led Maoists in the northern parts of Morang. The team is working in coordination with the NA and local police units.

“NA shows interest even when a home-made pistol is recovered nowadays. It is natural for the NA to show interest when weapons that they use have been recovered,” the police source added.

NA Spokesperson Brigadier General Yam Prasad Dhakal confirmed that the NA is investigating about the recovery of weapons in Dharan. “Our team is investigating the serial numbers of the weapons lost. We are investigating with help of police as both the weapons are used by the NA,” Dhakal stated.

The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on April 10, 2007 had published a list of arms handed over by the Maoists. There were 2,855 units of weapons in containers, 524 for security of the perimeter of cantonments of Maoist combatants, and 96 for security of the Maoist leaders.

The NA had claimed back then that the UNMIN list was not correct and the Maoists hid many weapons. It had pointed that the Maoists had looted 3,430 units of weapons from the NA, APF and police. The Maoists were suspected to have many more sophisticated weapons of their own.

Where have the weapons gone?

The then Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had once commented that some of the weapons were swept away by the river.

The NA believes that most of the weapons lost or hidden by the Maoists then have reached the Maoists led by Chand. A police officer said recovery of the modern weapons from Chand’s cadres supports the NA’s claims. “Such incidents prove that the Maoists had not handed over all the weapons then,” the police officer added.

The Nepal Police headquarters believe the Chand led Maoists are trying to wage the war from northern Morang like the Dahal led Maoists had done from Rolpa. Nepal Police Spokesperson SSP Uttam Raj Subedi said the Maoists have stored the weapons at the jungle in Kerabari, Morang. “Storing and transport of the weapons and explosions in recent times show the Maoists are preparing for the war,” SSP Subedi stated.

The security agencies say the Maoists are focusing in the northern parts of Morang due to the forests in Kerabari, Letang, Jante, Jefale and Singhadevi area that have minimal presence of security agencies.

Letang and Sinhadevi are connected with six-number Budhabare of Panchthar and Raja-Rani area of Dhankuta district. These areas were considered as a safe haven of Maoists even during the insurgency.

The police arrested Jitendra Mahara, who led the Chand’s Maoists in northern area of Morang, on February 23 after intensifying activities in the area. Mahara, a resident of Jante, was accused of explosion at the contact office of Indian Embassy in Biratnagar.

Narendra, son of the party’s spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma was also recently arrested from Morang with three rounds of bullets but the court has already released him on bail.

A total of 374 cadres of Chand led Maoists have been arrested in the 11 months of the current Nepali calendar year. Seventeen of them have been released while the rest of them are in jail with most of them jailed for extortion.

Police Spokesperson SSP Subedi said the Chand led Maoists are on an extortion drive more aggressive than the Maoists during the insurgency period.

The police have not been able to make arrests in the incidents of arson and explosions though. One have been arrested for the bombing in front of Nakkhu, Lalitpur recently and another for the arson on Ncell tower in Chuhine forest in Dhakari rural municipality 3 of Achham on February 23.

Three persons have been killed in Lalitpur, and one each in Dang and Kailali in the bomb explosion by the Chand led Maoists in the past two years while 34 persons have been injured.

The Chand led Maoists have been targeting big projects with foreign investment. The party has already threatened to shut down the Arun III and Upper Karnali hydropower projects. Ncell has also borne the brunt of Chand’s party.

“The Dahal led Maoists seemed to make efforts to do some positive works at the start of war. But the activities of Chand led Maoists are very aggressive. Their activities targeting big projects with foreign investment are aggressive,” Police Spokesperson SSP Subedi stated.

Source :

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.