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Response to the journalists by Purna Shova Chitrakar on Mine Action Day

As a former speaker said, landmines and IEDs are technically different. To collect data on the use of IEDs by Maoist, the NCBL met with commanders, leaders, and district level cadres. We came to realize that these actors do not know how many IEDs they produced, how many were used, or how many locations the weapons were used in. We found that the Maoists did not keep records when they used the weapons, and would plant quickly when they suspected that adversary was approaching. They would also change the storage locations of the weapons if they were deemed unsafe. During the operation period they would use promptly, whenever they needed to plant. Some of the cadres who planted the IEDs have died during the conflict, some have left the party, and some have forgotten where IEDs were planted.To solve the problem of IEDs, the NCBL is continuously urging all those involved to map the locations where cross fire occurred during the conflict, where meetings were organized, and where shelter was taken by Maoists. In addition, if people know of places where they suspect contamination, they should inform the Nepal Army, who have trained experts who have experience in clearing IEDs.During the conflict, reporting to the armies was not an easy task. Now the situation has changed, and everyone should feel confident to report locations of IEDs. If people still continue to find it difficult to report IEDS to the army, they should contact political parties or NGOs to report this information.Recently, a Maoist cadre in Ramechhap district became an IED victim when he was handling a device. There was only one weapon, and one victim, but the incident raises a series of questions. Was the explosive device produced during the conflict? Have the Maoists not handed over all explosive devices? The most recent report from the UN and Nepal government states 7 tons of explosives that were collected near to the cantonments have been destroyed; besides these explosives, do the Maoist cadres continue to possess stocks? If this is the case, were these explosives produced after the Peace Agreement? If yes, these activities are against the regulations set forth under the Peace Agreement. The Peace Agreement does not permit the production, use, transfer or stockpiling of these weapons. The Maoists must observe these rules and instruct their cadres to handover all remaining weapons, and cease all production.The Minister’s ResponseWe do not know where, or how many, explosives remain in the ground. Not only do the norms of the Peace Agreement forbid the production, stockpiling, and use of IEDs, we also have national laws against these activities. If someone is keeping and using these weapons, the government will punish them according to the law. Despite this, there are still barriers to those who have information about the weapons to report. The police may suspect that those who are reporting are linked to the weapons. We must consider how to make the reporting process easy and possible for everyone.

Purna Shova Chitrakar
Coordinator
Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal

As a former speaker said, landmines and IEDs are technically different. To collect data on the use of IEDs by Maoist, the NCBL met with commanders, leaders, and district level cadres. We came to realize that these actors do not know how many IEDs they produced, how many were used, or how many locations the weapons were used in. We found that the Maoists did not keep records when they used the weapons, and would plant quickly when they suspected that adversary was approaching. They would also change the storage locations of the weapons if they were deemed unsafe. During the operation period they would use promptly, whenever they needed to plant. Some of the cadres who planted the IEDs have died during the conflict, some have left the party, and some have forgotten where IEDs were planted.

To solve the problem of IEDs, the NCBL is continuously urging all those involved to map the locations where cross fire occurred during the conflict, where meetings were organized, and where shelter was taken by Maoists. In addition, if people know of places where they suspect contamination, they should inform the Nepal Army, who have trained experts who have experience in clearing IEDs.

During the conflict, reporting to the armies was not an easy task. Now the situation has changed, and everyone should feel confident to report locations of IEDs. If people still continue to find it difficult to report IEDS to the army, they should contact political parties or NGOs to report this information.

Recently, a Maoist cadre in Ramechhap district became an IED victim when he was handling a device. There was only one weapon, and one victim, but the incident raises a series of questions. Was the explosive device produced during the conflict? Have the Maoists not handed over all explosive devices? The most recent report from the UN and Nepal government states 7 tons of explosives that were collected near to the cantonments have been destroyed; besides these explosives, do the Maoist cadres continue to possess stocks? If this is the case, were these explosives produced after the Peace Agreement? If yes, these activities are against the regulations set forth under the Peace Agreement. The Peace Agreement does not permit the production, use, transfer or stockpiling of these weapons. The Maoists must observe these rules and instruct their cadres to handover all remaining weapons, and cease all production.

The Minister’s Response

We do not know where, or how many, explosives remain in the ground. Not only do the norms of the Peace Agreement forbid the production, stockpiling, and use of IEDs, we also have national laws against these activities. If someone is keeping and using these weapons, the government will punish them according to the law. Despite this, there are still barriers to those who have information about the weapons to report. The police may suspect that those who are reporting are linked to the weapons. We must consider how to make the reporting process easy and possible for everyone.

Purna Shova Chitrakar
Coordinator
Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal