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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02KATHMANDU747
2002-04-15 12:46:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

MAOIST CASUALTIES IN DANG REPORTEDLY HIGH;

Tags:   PTER  PGOV  CASC  NP 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000747 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SA/INS AND DS/OP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV CASC NP
SUBJECT: MAOIST CASUALTIES IN DANG REPORTEDLY HIGH;
COCA-COLA FACTORY IN TERAI BOMBED AGAIN

REF: A. (A) KATHMANDU 0737


B. (B) KATHMANDU 0439

C. (C) KATHMANDU 0209

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 000747

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SA/INS AND DS/OP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV CASC NP
SUBJECT: MAOIST CASUALTIES IN DANG REPORTEDLY HIGH;
COCA-COLA FACTORY IN TERAI BOMBED AGAIN

REF: A. (A) KATHMANDU 0737


B. (B) KATHMANDU 0439

C. (C) KATHMANDU 0209


1. (SBU) Summary: The Chief District Officer (CDO) in Dang
told the Embassy that he has seen "hundreds" of bodies of
Maoist dead in shallow graves in the vicinity of the April 11
attacks on police and Armed Police Force posts (Ref A).
According to local press reports, some of those dead may be
villagers conscripted as cannon fodder, possibly used as
human shields, in the hours leading up to the attacks. A
total of five civilians, including two small children, were
killed in recent explosions in two other districts. No
injuries were reported after suspected Maoists set off
explosive devices for the second time at the Coca-Cola
bottling factory in Narayangadh (Ref C). We expect the
violence to continue as the Maoists gear up for the general
strike called for April 23-27. End summary.


2. (SBU) Ministry of Defense spokesman Tana Gautam has
confirmed that the bodies of 54 Maoist insurgents killed in
the April 11 attacks on the civilian police post at Lamahi
and the Armed Police Force (APF) post at Satbariya in Dang
district (Ref A) have been found in the vicinity around the
posts. (Note: Maoist combatants typically transport bodies
of their dead from battle sites. End note.) Gautam said
the number of Maoist dead could rise as the search for bodies
continues. (Note: A PACOM assessment team is currently
visiting division headquarters in Nepalgunj and may learn
further details. End note.) The official casualty count for
Government of Nepal (GON) security forces in the attacks has
been revised to 10 regular police and 37 APF personnel. Four
civilians on a night bus in the vicinity were also killed.
Dang Chief District Officer (CDO) Mathur Prasad Yadav told
Embassy April 15 that he had been out to the battle sites
that morning and estimated he had seen "hundreds" of bodies
of insurgents in shallow graves in the forest and along the
river bank. He speculated that the Maoist casualty count
could reach as high as 500, although he was unable to say
exactly how many had been officially counted. The police are

still in the process of digging up the graves to determine
the number of Maoist casualties, Yadav said.


3. (U) According to local press reports, the Maoists
impressed local residents of villages close to Satbariya to
serve as human shields shortly before the attack. Relatives
of the men, who have been missing since April 11, reportedly
traveled to Satbariya to see if they could identify any of
the bodies discovered in the makeshift graves. Local human
rights group INSEC said it has heard similar reports from the
field and is sending an assessment team to Nepalgunj to
investigate.


4. (U) On April 12 an improvised explosive device,
presumably planted by insurgents, killed two children in
Aakhibhuin, Sankhuwasabha, a remote district in northeastern
Nepal. The CDO in Bajura District in northwestern Nepal told
Embassy that three civilians in Lanten Bazaar attempting to
defuse a pressure cooker bomb, apparently left by Maoists,
were killed when the device exploded early in the morning of
April 14.


5. (SBU) At about 7:45 p.m. April 14 five armed insurgents
entered the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Narayangadh in the
south-central Terai region and set off an explosive device.
No casualties were reported. N.N. Singh, the Managing
Director of Coca-Cola in Nepal, traveled to Narayangadh April
15 to assess the damage to the plant. This latest attack
marks the second time Maoists have targeted the Narayangadh
plant (Ref C) and the third time they have set off explosive
devices at a Coca-Cola facility in Nepal.


6. (SBU) According to Singh, the Nepali police did not
adequately increase the presence of armed police around the
plant, despite his own and the Ambassador's requests to do so
(Ref B). Singh said he is convinced his plants are being
targeted as symbols of corporate America and asked the
Embassy to press the GON for augmented security around his
Kathmandu and Narayangadh facilities.


7. (SBU) Comment: While we think it is unlikely that there
are "hundreds" of Maoist dead, it seems apparent that
casualties are higher than initially thought. At this point
there is no telling how many of the bodies now turning up in
makeshift graves are actual Maoist cadre and how many may be
unfortunate villagers impressed into temporary and unwilling
service by the insurgents. As the date of the general strike
called by the Maoists for April 23-27 draws nearer, we expect
the insurgents to increase the tempo of violence in a bid to
intimidate the general population into observing the
otherwise unpopular shutdown. The Embassy will continue to
monitor the situation, and will hold an EAC meeting the day
before the strike in order to assess our security posture and
review any increased threat to the larger American community.
End comment.
MALINOWSKI