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8/21/04 - MAOIST TERRORISM IN NEPAL - 2004-08-23

Maoist rebels are trying to overthrow Nepal’s government. They have perpetrated many acts of terrorism, including bombings and torture and murder of civilians and public officials. In about eight years of civil war in Nepal, more than nine-thousand people are reported to have died.

The latest tactic of the Maoists is to try to intimidate Nepalese businesses into closing down. On August 16th, a bomb was thrown over a wall at the Soaltee Crown Plaza, a hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. Fortunately, no one was reported hurt. But in the wake of the bombing, the hotel was closed and its guests moved elsewhere.

On August 18th, the Maoists said they would blockade Kathmandu and threatened to kill any truck drivers who attempt to bring supplies into the city. If it is not broken, the blockade could soon result in shortages of such necessities as kerosene for cooking. Iswor Pokhrel, Nepal’s minister for industries, commerce, and supplies, said Kathmandu has only a few days’ supply of kerosene.

Adam Ereli is deputy spokesman for the U.S. State Department:

“We, first of all, strongly condemn that bombing, as well as the other attempts by Maoists to intimidate Nepalese businessmen into closing their operations. These are reprehensible acts that only harm innocent Nepalese and weaken Nepal’s fragile economy.”

Mr. Ereli says the U.S. and other countries are working with Nepal to confront the Maoists. This includes treating the Maoists as the terrorists they have shown themselves to be:

“For our part, we have designated the Maoists under executive order, blocking any assets in the United States or held by U.S. persons or wherever located, and barring Americans from most transactions or dealings with the Maoists.”

The U.S., says State Department deputy spokesman Ereli, opposes the Maoists’ “intimidation, terror, and threats of violence against civilians, and we are working with the government of Nepal to see that grievances of Nepalese are resolved through peaceful and political means.”