Maoists threat to US security:
Kathmandu, Saturday November
The United States on Friday declared the
insurgent Maoist Communist Party of Nepal to be a threat to US
national security and froze the group's assets as part of package
Immediately after the determination was
made public, the US embassy in Kathmandu issued a new security
warning, advising Americans in Nepal to keep a low profile and
exercise special caution "during the upcoming time period."
"This announcement is issued to alert
American citizens in Nepal concerning the possibility of an increased
threat to Americans and American-affiliated organizations from
Maoist insurgents in the coming days," the embassy said in
a notice to US citizens. The notice did not say why the threat
might be heightened but a copy of it was provided to AFP in Washington
by the State Department shortly after the publication of Friday's
Federal Register, which contained the determination about the
"I hereby determine that the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist) ... has committed, or poses a significant
risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security
of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy
of the United States," Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage said in the notice.
The determination was made the designation
amid a spike in fighting between Nepalese troops and Maoist rebels,
who want to overthrow the country's constitutional monarchy.
The notice listed several aliases for
the organization including the United Revolutionary People's Council,
the People's Liberation Army of Nepal and the CPN(M), all of which
are covered by the sanctions.
Nepal's Maoist rebels ended a seven-month
ceasefire August 27 after peace talks broke down, setting off
the latest surge in fighting in which one human rights group said
1,092 people had died.
Nepalese authorities have accused the
Maoists of stepping up extortion since the end of the truce, driving
some villagers to suicide. Overall tolls from violence in the
Himalayan kingdom are often difficult to verify independently
as the clashes occur in remote areas but the government says the
seven-year-old insurgency has claimed more than 8,200 lives.
Human rights groups put the toll closer
The United States has grown increasingly
concerned about the situation in Nepal and issues frequent travel
warnings advising US citizens to take special precautions while
there or to avoid going at all.
Washington has offered counter-terrorism
assistance to Kathmandu to assist in battling the insurgents but
has also expressed concern about reports of government abuses.
The Maoists said on Monday that Americans
would be safe in Nepal as long as they did not assist Nepal's
military although they are held responsible for the murders of
two Nepalese guards at the US embassy and have threatened foreign
missions in Kathmandu.
They have also targetted US symbols, bombing
Coca-Cola bottling plants in April and January 2002 and in November
2001, according to the State Department's latest "Patterns
of Global Terrorism" report released in April.
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