- Title: NEPAL: Last batch of Maoist soldiers are discharged in Rolpa
- Date: 10th February 2010
- Summary: VILLAGERS WATCHING COMBATANTS TO BE DISCHARGED
- Embargoed: 25th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Nepal
- Country: Nepal
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA4ZN8BZOJLFFWVDS87YOS69PBS
- Story Text: The last batch of Maoist combatants, many of whom were recruited as children, were discharged at an official ceremony in Rolpa, Nepal, attended by the country's former prime minister and Maoist leader, Prachanda.
The 268 discharged combatants, who were involved in the armed struggle to abolish Nepal's monarchy, listened to an address by Prachanda, who said their role would not be forgotten.
"In totality your role will not be lessened, rather I assure your role will be substantially credited amongst people," he said.
The former soldiers will now begin the process of rebuilding their lives. The United Nations will support schooling or vocational training for children up to grade 12, micro-enterprises and training as junior health workers.
The head of the United Nations Mission in Nepal, Karin Landgren urged the former combatants, especially women, to play a role in making Nepal a just and equitable country.
"And to the women and girls present, you have a right to full participation in power structures, and decision making," said Landgren.
Britain's ambassador to Nepal, Dr Andrew Hall urged Prachanda to complete the process as quickly as possible.
"I urge that there should be no further delays in completing the reintegration and rehabilitation of the remaining combatants," he said.
One discharged combatant, Anita, said she now hoped to serve her community.
"On the question of what is the plan, the plan is to go to a village, sit with the people and serve the people."
The armed conflict began not far from where the ceremony was held, in Rolpa and ended in 2006 with the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement.
The move to reintegrate the combatants is considered crucial for peace in Nepal, which is trying to write a new constitution after abolishing the monarchy in 2008. But the fragile peace process has been stalled since last May after the Maoists walked out of the government in conflict with the president over their attempt to fire the army chief.
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