| KIRAN CHAPAGAIN/KIRAN PUN|
With the voluntary retirement process concluding in six cantonments on Tuesday, the number of combatants opting for voluntary retirement has reached 6,106 and is likely to go higher when the process completes in the Kailali cantonment on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, altogether 1,076 of the 1,762 combatants in the Kailali cantonment have chosen voluntary retirement, according to Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the secretariat of the Special Committee.
Only 3,599 combatants are left in the Kailali cantonment as of Tuesday and this figure is expected to go down with the completion of retirement process in all the cantonments.
In other words, the number of Maoist combatants opting for integration will just be around 10 percent of the total combatants verified by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in 2007.
The special political mission of the UN had verified 32,250 combatants in the initial stage in 2007. This number came down to 23,610 as 8,640 combatants remained absent during the second verification. This number further went down to 19,602 -- the actual number of verified combatants -- after the UN mission disqualified 4,008 minors and late recruits.
However, only 17,076 combatants were found living in the cantonments during the survery carried out by the Special Committee in November last year. During the categorization process, 7,365 combatants had chosen voluntary retirement and left the cantonments in February while 9,705 combatants had opted for integration. A fresh round of categorization was carried out among these 9,705 combatants.
But the final number is likely to go down below 3,000 when the Nepal Army completes selection of combatants for integration. from Republica English Daily newspaper