News from the people's war in Nepal

Daring Raids and Jailbreaks

Revolutionary Worker #1108, June 24, 2001, posted at

The recent murder of King Birendra and the royal family in Nepal highlights the sharp crisis within the country's ruling class over how to deal with the growing Maoist People's War. Nepal's Constitution puts the king in command of the Royal Nepalese Army, while the police--who have been the main force fighting the Maoists--are controlled by the government. This put Birendra right in the middle of debate within Nepal's ruling class over whether to mobilize the army against the Maoists.

One month before the palace murders, this debate and infighting among Nepal's rulers intensified after people's army guerrillas carried out a series of daring and successful raids in which over 70 police were killed.

The following account of these raids and a heroic jailbreak by six women guerrillas is based on reports in Himalayan Thunder, a new quarterly bulletin put out by the party leading the People's War, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Military Actions by People's Guerrillas Scale New Heights

In the first week of April 2001, thousands of actions including small and big sabotages were carried out all over Nepal in the course of a weeklong campaign culminating in a general shut-down (bandh) on April 6. The high point of this campaign were five daring military actions which shook up the whole country. These guerrilla raids on different police outposts had a huge impact and raised the People's War (PW) to new heights.

Two big guerrilla raids were carried out in the Western Region, the center of the PW. The first of these happened on April 1, at Rukumkot. This raid is now acknowledged, from the strict military point of view, as the topmost military action to date by the people's guerrillas. It was the first successful attack against a company-level fortification of the Special Striking Force of the enemy's police force, located on a strategic hilltop.

The recently constructed fortification on a specially chosen hilltop consisted of an outer fence, then a thick stone wall with eight observation posts and finally a trench inside the wall. The fortified post was manned by 76 policemen at the time. However, the people's guerrillas of a company-level formation, aided by local militias, successfully stormed into the fortification with lightning speed and destroyed the enemy camp within 45 minutes. As a result, 32 police commandos, including one inspector, were killed, 14 were wounded and 22 were taken into custody by the guerrillas. Also, a large quantity of arms and ammunition were captured, including 58 rifles, six magnums, a shotgun, three pistols, three revolvers, around 6,000 pieces of ammunition and some communication sets. This great military victory was won at the cost of the death of eight precious comrades including Com. Rajendra, deputy commander of a platoon. Hundreds of revolutionary masses from nearby villages expressed their solidarity with the people's guerrillas by staging torchlight processions during the course of the military actions.

The second guerrilla raid in the Western Region was successfully conducted at the Naumule ilaka (sub-district) police outpost of Dailekh district on the night of April 6 and the morning of April 7. This was also a well-fortified outpost located on a hilltop, manned by 72 policemen. But the people's guerrillas, consisting of several platoons and aided by local militias, overwhelmed this outpost within 70 minutes. Here, too, 32 policemen, including one inspector, were killed and dozens injured. Arms and ammunition were seized, including 58 rifles and around 41,000 pieces of ammunition. The people's guerrillas suffered six casualties. The success of this military action has greatly contributed to the expansion of the base areas in the far West.

In the Central Region, two successful guerrilla raids were carried out simultaneously on April 2 at Mujhung of Palpa district and Darkha of Dhading district. The Mujhung police outpost, manned by 22 personnel, was stormed by people's guerrillas and captured within half an hour. Two policemen were killed and nine were wounded. Another eight policemen were killed when a reinforcement team, coming after hearing news of the raid, fell into a stream 100 meters below the road. The police outpost was completely destroyed with bombs and the guerrillas captured 12 rifles, two pistols, two revolvers, a shotgun and large quantities of ammunition from this raid. There were no casualties or injuries on the side of the people's guerrillas.

In another raid at Darkha of Dhading district adjoining the capital city of Kathmandu, a police outpost with 14 personnel was captured within five minutes when the enemy surrendered without any resistance. Consequently there were no casualties on either side. The people's guerrillas destroyed the outpost and captured nine rifles, a magnum, a shotgun, two pistols, two revolvers and large quantities of ammunition. Later, it was reported that the government arrested all the policemen and put them on trial for allegedly having sided with the revolutionaries.

In the Eastern Region, the Mainapokhari police outpost in Dolakha district was raided by people's guerrillas on April 1. However, because of some last minute obstacles the raid was delayed to 3:30 a.m., and as a result the mission was only half accomplished. The outpost with 46 personnel was partially captured and destroyed, seven police killed and 20 others injured. The guerrillas captured eight rifles, a magnum and some ammunition. Three precious lives of people's guerrillas were lost and six others injured.

In the Kathmandu Valley, bomb blasts hit the homes of the former police chief, Achyut Krishna Kharel, and a ruling party ex-member of parliament, Lekh Nath Neupane, on April 1.

After the first week of April, sporadic military actions by people's guerrillas continued in the Eastern and Central regions. Of these, an ambush carried out in Syangja district of the Central Region on May 9 was the most notable. Four policemen were killed on the spot in this action.

This whole series of guerrilla actions aggravated the crisis in the ruling class, and there have been large-scale desertions among the police. The revolutionary base areas are expanding and consolidating, particularly in the Western Region. And the fact that several strategic police outposts--all in the Rolpa and Rukum districts--were closed down after the Rukumkot raid, shows the strategic importance of these daring guerrilla actions.

Daring Jailbreak by Women Guerrillas

Six women guerrillas made a daring and successful jailbreak on March 31. This was the first incident of this kind since the start of the People's War. The women were being held in the ultra-modern reactionary jail in Gorkha (in the central region) for the last two years. These six revolutionary heroines, Uma Bhujel (Com. Shilu), Kamala Naharki, Engela B.K., Sanju Aryal, Meena Marhatta and Rita B.K., all in their early twenties, won their freedom by digging a tunnel out of the enemy's dungeon. All six brave daughters of the international proletariat have since rejoined the revolutionary ranks and resumed their duties.

The daring escape was executed according to a meticulous plan under the leadership of Com. Uma Bhujel. Com. Bhujel was a section commander before her capture by the enemy, and wife of platoon commander Com. Bhimsen Pokhrel, who was martyred along with Com. Suresh Wagle in September 1999.

The escape plan was finalized and started on the anniversary of the birth of Mao Tsetung, on December 26, 2000. All six comrades had their roles defined, and the plan was to be completed on the sixth anniversary of the initiation of the PW on February 13, 2001. But the plan had to be extended due to unforeseen factors.

For the next three months, the six women carried out their individual tasks in the escape plan. Some had to constantly divert the attention of dozens of armed guards always on the prowl. Others had to keep the non-political prisoners in good humor. And the most challenging task was to dig a tunnel, about 15 meters long, through two heavily fortified walls--with the use of just an iron rod and a few kitchen appliances. Com. Kamala Naharki undertook this difficult task singlehandedly.

The women said they were doing gardening behind their narrow cell to cover up what was really going on. With twists and turns, the task was successfully accomplished and the six revolutionary women guerrillas crawled through the narrow tunnel and out of enemy captivity at 2:00 a.m. on March 31. They had to encounter one last obstacle when they were spotted and fired at by enemy guards, but the great proletarian heroines exhibited their extraordinary presence of mind and courage once again and managed to escape to safety. Within no time they were in the midst of the revolutionary masses and their proud Party comrades.

This daring jailbreak by the so-called "weaker sex" was a big blow to the already sagging morale of the reactionary ruling classes. And this was a perfect lead-up to the military actions by the people's guerrillas in the next couple of days in Rukum, Dolakha, Palpa, Dhading and Dailekh. This historic incident once again highlights the glorious role played by women in the PW in Nepal and has inspired millions of women in the country.

Chairman Com. Prachanda, in a public statement issued on April 2, has saluted the six brave women comrades for their outstanding accomplishment and called upon all revolutionaries to draw inspiration from them. Similarly, Com. Laldhoj, in-charge of Central Regional Bureau of the Party, and Com. Parvati, in-charge of Central Women's Department, have also greeted the six women comrades and highlighted the historical significance of this jailbreak. Gorkha District Committee of the Party organized a public program to salute the six women comrades on April 29 in Baguwa village, where thousands of peasant masses gathered to see and listen to the brave women guerrillas.

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