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3/25/2002: Maoist five-day general strike planned
for April 2-6
are going to let you read it, then we will add an
of the United States of America
March 25, 2002
by the Department of State on March 22, 2002
Public Announcement is being issued to alert
American citizens that the conflict between Maoist
insurgents and the Government of Nepal continues and
that the State of Emergency imposed by the
government in November 2001 remains in effect.
Maoist violence throughout Nepal has increased over
the past two months. Maoists have once again
called for a bandh (general strike), from April 2-6,
although it is unclear whether it will be
observed. In addition, the Maoist leadership
has issued a communiquι warning of certain risks to
foreign tourists and threatening to disrupt the
tourism industry. U.S. citizens are urged to
carefully factor the potential for violence and the
possible disruption of in-country transportation
into their plans. This Public Announcement
supersedes the Public Announcements for Nepal dated
January 24 and February 8, 2002.
violence throughout Nepal has been increasing over
the past two months. In some areas outside the
Kathmandu Valley, the situation is tense and
uncertain, with armed conflicts between the Maoists
and security forces occurring sporadically and
unpredictably. Several recent incidents of
violence have occurred on main highways outside the
Kathmandu Valley, including the roads linking
Kathmandu with the Tibetan and Indian borders and
the tourist destinations of Pokhara and Chitwan
part of their attempt to impose a five-day
nationwide bandh (general strike) from April 2-6,
the Maoist leadership has issued a letter containing
explicit threats against the tourism industry in
Nepal. The letter states that the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist) has been at war with the
Government of Nepal since 1996 and notes that
"during wartime the unassuming traveler can be
caught between the crossfire of the contending
armies." It threatens hotels, airlines,
buses and other travel businesses owned by prominent
Nepalese, and warns foreign tourists not to
participate in certain tourist activities within
Nepal during the bandh period of April 2-6.
The letter's targeting of Nepal's tourism industry,
coupled with increasing violence in many parts of
Nepal and the call for an unprecedented five-day
bandh, creates added concern for the security of
Americans living in or traveling to Nepal for the
upcoming period. At this time, we do not know
if the threatened bandh will take place.
support for bandhs has been waning. As a
result, Maoist insurgents have resorted to
increasingly brutal acts of intimidation to enforce
compliance. In the past, bandhs have resulted
in the shutdown of businesses, schools, offices and
vehicular traffic, causing mainly inconvenience to
the lives of Nepali residents and Western
travelers. During bandhs, taxis and other
forms of public transportation may not
operate. Transit to and from the Tribhuvan
International Airport may be adversely affected.
Americans are strongly urged to maintain a low
profile and to exercise special caution from April 2
-6. As always, Americans in Nepal should avoid
nighttime travel on bandh days, avoid demonstrations
and closely monitor the situation.
implementing a state of emergency in November 2001,
the Government of Nepal increased its security
presence to protect its citizens and foreign
visitors from insurgent violence and intimidation.
American citizens are advised to comply with the
instructions of security personnel manning
checkpoints and conducting patrols.
travel of official U.S. Embassy personnel outside
the Kathmandu Valley continues to be significantly
limited and subject to case-by-case approval.
Private Americans are urged to contact the U.S.
Embassy in Kathmandu for the latest security
information before undertaking travel to outlying
areas, to travel by air when possible, and to avoid
nighttime road travel outside the Kathmandu Valley.
further information on travel to Nepal, please
consult the Department of State's latest Consular
Information Sheet on Nepal at http://travel.state.gov
and the American Embassy in Nepal's home page at http://www.south-asia.com/USA.
Americans living in or visiting Nepal are strongly
urged to register with the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Nepal and obtain updated information
on travel and security within Nepal. The U.S.
Embassy is located at Pani Pokhari in Kathmandu,
telephone (977) (1) 411179; fax (977) (1) 419963.
U.S. citizens may also register by e-mail by
accessing the Embassy's home page. This
Public Announcement expires June 20, 2002
warnings from the Embassy
of the United States of America are not new for
Nepal and Pakistan, in fact they cover most of the
last few years. However, what you should note here is
that the Maoist five-day general strike planned for
April 2-6, 2002 which will slow down things for a
few day. We have been in touch with several climbers
in Nepal over the last few weeks. Many expected
this, and heard the rumors. Some will make it out
before the strike, others will probably sit and wait
until it is over.
general strike is intimidation.
Maoist insurgents have resorted to brutal acts
of intimidation to enforce compliance. In the
past, these strikes have resulted in the shutdown of
businesses, schools, offices and vehicular traffic,
causing mainly inconvenience to the lives of Nepali
residents and Western travelers. During bandhs,
taxis and other forms of public transportation may
not operate or be subject to intimidation. Transit
to and from the International Airport may be
adversely affected. Western climbers and trekkers
are strongly urged to maintain a low profile and to
exercise special caution from April 2 -6.
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