KATHMANDU, Sept 7: In a major development in the management of the ex-Maoist combatants, the Nepal Army resumed integration of the former combatants from Friday in five of the cantonments despite some minor obstruction by individual combatants.
The process of integration at the cantonments in Kailali and Sindhuli will resume only from Friday as the selection teams from the Nepal Army reached those places only on Thursday, said Ramindra Chhetri, spokesperson of the Nepal Army.
According to Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the secretariat of the Special Committee, the former PLA members tried to cause a minor obstruction in the process, putting forth demands such as issuing the second installment of paychecks to combatants who opted for voluntary retirement in the first and second categorization process and a package for injured combatants.
"We settled the issues and resumed the process," said Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the Special Committee secretariat.
The demands have been forwarded to the Special Committee headed by the prime minister.
The integration process initially started on July 6. But it was halted three days later due to a controversy over age and academic qualifications. The Special Committee resolved these concerns last week.
Following two phases of categorization of the former Maoist combatants, there remain 3,123 combatants who have opted for integration into the national army.
While the selection of former combatants vying for rank and file integration is being carried out at the seven main cantonments, a corresponding process for the officer ranks will take place at the Chitawan barracks of the Nepal Army from September 12.
Combatants want arms in museum
Meanwhile, a group of former Maoist combatants have demanded that the Special Committee keep their arms in a museum and not hand them over to the Nepal Army.
Last week, the Special Committee had decided that the Nepal Army will take control of the arms once the integration process starts.
"Some combatants have demanded that the Special Committee take a decision to keep their arms in a museum," Sharma said.