Nepal signs peace agreement with widely feared communist rebel group

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Nepal’s government signed a peace agreement Thursday with a small communist rebel group widely feared because they were known for violent attacks, extortion and bombings.

The government agreed to lift a ban on the group, release all their party members and supporters in jail and drop all legal cases against them, while the group agreed to give up all violence and resolve any issues through peaceful dialogue, the government said in a statement after peace talks.

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Details of the agreement would be made public at a joint ceremony Friday with Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli and the leader of the rebel group Netra Bikram Chand, who is better known by his guerrilla name, Biplav. The rebels also call themselves the Nepal Communist Party.

This group is known for violence, threats and enforcing general strikes.

It had split from the Maoist Communist party, which fought government troops between 1996 and 2006 when it gave up its armed revolt, agreed to UN-monitored peace talks and joined mainstream politics.

The Maoist fighting had left 17,000 people killed, hundreds missing and many more maimed.

The peace agreement with the rebel group comes at a time when the prime minister and his government are facing a political crisis since a split developed in his own ruling party and the Supreme Court reinstated the Parliament he had dissolved.

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