Nepal in turmoil after Maoists leader resigns

By May 6, 2009

Nepal (MNN) — Nepal's political parties held crisis talks Tuesday on forming a new coalition government after the prime minister resigned in a power struggle with the president over enlisting former Maoist rebels into the military.

"Nepal needs an absolute miracle," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan after reviewing reports from Christian leaders in the strife-torn Himalayan country. "Right now we have a high emergency, but what is worse is that things could go back to the guerilla warfare that we had for the past 10 years."

The peace accord that ended the decade-long civil war calls for the rebel soldiers to be taken into the army. But the question that has divided the government is how fast the integration should take place and whether individual former rebels should be screened before their acceptance into the military.

The dispute broke into the open when the Maoist Prime Minister, Prachanda, tried to fire the army's top general. Nepal's President, Ram Baran Yadev, a member of the main opposition party, told the general not to quit.

In what has been seen as a positive sign in support of Nepal's fledgling democracy, Prachanda chose to resign rather than escalate the situation.

However, Yohannan says the situation is still tenuous. "Having two more parties resign because of this incident, it could very well mean the government will fall apart, which means, guerillas will be fighting with the government."

Hopefully, his move will avoid action by the 19,000 former rebel fighters now confined to UN-supervised barracks. But in truth, no one knows what tomorrow may bring.

"We are terribly concerned about the future of Nepal," Dr. Yohannan said, "and we ask that Christians around the world pray for this volatile situation."

He says there is a lot at stake. "We have two significant Bible colleges, and also we have a radio broadcast heard on 36 fm radio stations, which actually belong to the government. 300 churches have been planted over the years. So many people are coming to Christ like never before."

Christians are even having an impact on the country. Yohannan says, "Our leader of our work in Nepal is being consulted by government officials as they are formulating the constitution as a secular nation."

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