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9/19/04 - INSURGENCY IN NEPAL  - 2004-09-20

The American Information Center in Kathmandu, Nepal, a cultural institution affiliated with the U.S. embassy, was bombed this month by suspected Maoist insurgents. U.S. embassy spokeswoman Constance Jones says the attack strengthens U.S. resolve to help Nepal end the insurrection:

“This attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities will only increase American support for the efforts of the government of Nepal to find a peaceful solution.”

The Maoist insurgency began eight years ago and has resulted in nine-thousand deaths. The rebels have blockaded Kathmandu, forcing economic damage. The Maoists are attempting to replace Nepal’s constitutional monarchy with a Communist state.

A state of emergency was in effect from November 2001 to August 2002 after the insurgents broke a cease-fire. During that time, Nepal’s King Gyanendra suspended many constitutional rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, privacy, and property.

In October 2002, King Gyanendra dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba after he recommended the dissolution of parliament but was unable to set a time for elections because of the fighting. The King appointed a cabinet to govern the country until elections can be held.

The Nepalese government and the Maoists agreed to another cease-fire in January 2003 and held talks in August 2003. But the Maoists broke the cease-fire and resumed attacks against the government and civilians.

Since the Maoists broke the last cease-fire, they have caused severe hardship to the people of Nepal. A U.S. State Department statement says that the U.S. “supports restoration of a multi-party democracy in Nepal through the electoral process. Nepal’s leaders, the King and its politicians, need to set aside differences and work together.”