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Sunday, 3 February 2013

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Nepal Maoists stage first post-war convention

2 February AFP

Thousands of Nepal's former rebel Maoists gathered Saturday for their biggest show of strength since taking up arms in a 10-year insurgency and toppling the world's last Hindu monarchy.

Party leaders who swept to power in 2008 elections following a peace deal are using a general convention in the southern industrial hub of Hetauda to shore up grassroots support amid growing disillusionment among the ex-fighters. Around 3,000 delegates and hundreds of thousands of supporters attending the party's first convention in 21 years are expecting to hear a rousing opening address from leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal calling for unity among the rank-and-file.

"The biggest challenge we face is how to manage the former combatants, especially those injured during the war. The former fighters spent the most productive years of their lives fighting the war," said Uttam Basnet, 49, a regional leader in eastern Nepal.

 

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