Nepal delays freeing child soldiers from camps
The release of 3,000 child soldiers confined in United Nations-monitored camps for more than three years has been delayed, Nepal’s government said Monday.
Thousands of former Maoist fighters have lived in the camps since they joined a peace process that ended their 10-year rebellion in 2006. U.N. monitors found that 2,975 of them were under 18.
The United Nations plans to provide the former child soldiers with education, help them set up businesses, and get vocational training with various U.N. agencies.
The expected 40-day process initially scheduled to begin last Sunday will now start Jan. 7, said Peace Ministry spokesman Bishnu Nepal.
“Because of the New Year’s holidays and additional time needed to prepare, we all decided to postpone the process,” Nepal said of the joint decision made by the government and communist politicians.
After giving up their rebellion, the Maoists joined mainstream politics and contested elections last year, which they won. They formed a coalition government that fell earlier this year amid a dispute with the president over the army chief’s refusal to enroll former rebels into the military.
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