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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07KATHMANDU2005 2007-11-21 09:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL'S SOUTHEAST SHOWING IMPROVED SECURITY FOR NOW

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM KSEC NP 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 002005 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM KDEM KSEC NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL'S SOUTHEAST SHOWING IMPROVED SECURITY FOR NOW


Classified By: Ambassador Nancy J. Powell. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

Summary
-------



1. (C) Government, police, and party officials in Jhapa (on
November 14) and Ilam (on November 15) reported to Emboff
that the security situation in their district was manageable.
However, all the officials agreed that if the politicians in
Kathmandu cannot resolve their current impasse and set a new
Constituent Assembly election date soon, the security
situation is likely to deteriorate sharply. The District
Election Office staff is inexperienced, but eager to get back
to work.

Security Improved, Maoists and Limbuwan Still Problems


--------------------------



--------------------------





2. (C) While leaders in two southeastern districts saw the
security situation as manageable, in a meeting on November 15
with Emboff the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Ilam was more
willing to concede actual and latent problems than government
officials in Jhapa were on November 14. (Note: Jhapa, the
southeasternmost district of Nepal, has traditionally been a
relatively calm area while Ilam, the district just north of
Jhapa, has faced more Maoist and ethnic unrest. End Note.)
They indicated Maoist and Limbuwan (an indigenous ethnic
group in southeastern Nepal which comprises approximately two
per cent of Nepal's population) groups have been active in
both districts, but with greater numbers and effect in Ilam.
Extortion by Maoists still takes place, although reportedly
at lower levels than previously. While both police and
government officials admitted bandhs (traffic blockades) were
generally successful, they thought the population obeyed out
of fear, not support. Officials reported that since the
postponement of the election The Limbuwan had organized fewer
disruptive activities, although they were uncertain as to
why. Police in both districts reported that all police posts
destroyed or closed during the insurgency had been
reestablished. All the officials agreed that if the
politicians in Kathmandu cannot resolve their current impasse
and set a new Constituent Assembly election date soon, the
security situation is likely to deteriorate sharply.

Leaders Want Elections Held Soon


--------------------------





3. (C) Staff at both District Election Offices (DEO) claimed
to be ready to resume activities and conduct the election as
soon as the Election Commission gives the word. The staff
admitted that some voter education activities conducted
before the postponement had faced political disruptions and
the education effort in Ilam appeared to have taken on a more
partisan tone than in Jhapa. Police and government officials
in Ilam reported that only a few of the applicants for the
temporary election security positions had any military or law
enforcement background thus they were skeptical that the
training time would have been sufficient. Political party
leaders and government officials unanimously supported making
an extra effort to keep the Maoists a part of the electoral
process - both to prevent the Maoists from causing security
problems and to make the elections more meaningful. Party
leaders expressed broad support for conducting the election
under a purely proportional electoral system. None of the
staff in either DEO had ever conducted an election
previously, but they were eager to complete the task. If the
new election date is after mid-April and thus requires
updating the voter registration lists, the staff estimated
that process would take four to six months. Conducting a new
census would obviously take longer, but party leaders in
Jhapa thought it would be possible to conduct a census
peacefully if the Six-Party Alliance and Maoists were
unified.

Comment


--------------------------





4. (C) The government officials, police, and party leaders in

KATHMANDU 00002005 002 OF 002


Jhapa and Ilam all saw the political problems in Kathmandu as
far more serious than any political issues they were facing
in their district. Agreement on an election date soon was
viewed as providing the opportunity to maintain improved
security and conduct a successful Constituent Assembly
election. The Assembly could then provide a forum where all
groups could address their political demands. In neither
district have the Limbuwan, the Maoists, and Nepal Federation
of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), formed an alliance even
though they all are demanding the adoption of a purely
proportional electoral system and federalism. Party leaders
reported conducting some party activity outside the district
headquarters, but not much, even though all admit the
security situation is adequate to conduct such activities.
Local leaders stated that land reform and other outstanding
peace process issues should be dealt with only after election
issues are resolved, but if no election date is announced
soon the Limbuwan, Maoists, and NEFIN are likely to step up
their agitation. Although Jhapa is a Terai district, Madhesi
groups are not a strong force there.
POWELL