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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02KATHMANDU914
2002-05-09 09:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

SUSPECTED MAOISTS DESTROY PEPSI TRUCK

Tags:   PTER  ASEC  BEXP  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 KATHMANDU 000914 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SA/INS AND DS/OP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC BEXP CASC NP
SUBJECT: SUSPECTED MAOISTS DESTROY PEPSI TRUCK

REF: KATHMANDU 747 AND PREVIOUS

UNCLAS KATHMANDU 000914

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SA/INS AND DS/OP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC BEXP CASC NP
SUBJECT: SUSPECTED MAOISTS DESTROY PEPSI TRUCK

REF: KATHMANDU 747 AND PREVIOUS


1. (SBU) Suspected Maoist insurgents set fire to a
Pepsi-Cola truck making deliveries in Dolakha District, about
70 km east of Kathmandu the evening of May 7. According to
Rajiv Sant, Managing Director for the Indian-owned Pepsi
franchise in Nepal, three gunmen stopped the truck and
ordered the driver, salesman, and distributor to get out.
After robbing them, Sant said the gunmen told the three Pepsi
employees that "we don't want American companies here." One
of the gunmen then reportedly blew a whistle, at which point
a number of young men emerged from the surrounding forest.
The group then drove the truck off, leaving the three Pepsi
employees to walk to the next town. The three gunmen,
meanwhile, "calmly walked off into the jungle," according to
Sant.


2. (SBU) Sant said he contacted the Royal Nepal Army (RNA)
Battalion with responsibility for the area for assistance in
locating the truck the next day. The RNA found the vehicle
about four km from the site of the hijacking. It had been
set on fire, completely damaging its cab and electrical
panels. Sant said he had been trying to keep the incident
out of the press to avoid undue publicity (an unsuccessful
effort; the vernacular press carried a short story on the
event May 9). He views the incident as a warning, and is
assessing how it may affect the franchise's operations in
Nepal. He will visit the Embassy May 10 to discuss the
matter further.


3. (SBU) An Amcit university professor who has been a
frequent visitor to Nepal over the past decade told conoff a
Sherpa guide he knows and trusts had recently encountered a
group of Maoists on the road from Jiri (also in Dolokha
District). As the guide proceeded on the trail from Jiri to
Lukla, the entry point by air for Everest Base Camp, he said
he met another group of 15 armed Maoists at Nuntala,
Solukhumbu District, who warned him "not to take any
Americans up" as trekking clients and forced him to listen to
a lengthy tirade of propaganda.


4. (SBU) Comment: That the Pepsi franchise in Nepal is not
owned by Americans is a distinction apparently lost on the
insurgents. Although Coca-Cola facilities have been attacked
three times within the past year, this is the first attack on
Pepsi property that we know of; althogether the attacks have
taken place in three different districts of the country.
Like the Coca-Cola attacks, only company property--rather
than people--were targeted, and the same anti-American
message given (Reftel). One of the more bizarre elements of
the Nepali Maoists' published precepts is opposition to soft
drink companies. The reported warnings given to the Sherpa
guide are also a matter of concern. The EAC will meet May 10
to review the overall security situation.
MALINOWSKI