Showing No Mercy

There was nothing unusual about the request for reinforcements. Citing the presence of Maoist rebels and fears of an attack, the letters from Achham chief district officer Mohan Singh Khadka had piled up steadily over the winter. But not until early February did the army order the garrison in the western district town of Mangalsen reinforced with 19 extra soldiers, bringing the total to 58. "All 75 districts are constantly demanding more troops," says a senior Nepalese military official. "We get all these reports: 100 Maoists seen here, 100 seen there. And some member of Parliament is always demanding more protection....

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