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Central & South Asia
The search for Nepal's disappeared
Al Jazeera meets one of the few people who returned from a military torture camp.
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2007 12:24 GMT

Some 3,000 Nepalese men, women and children went missing during the war
Three thousand men, women and children went missing during the 10-year conflict between the Nepalese army and Maoist fighters in Nepal.

 

Bijari Bhattari was one of them, when he was just 14 years-old he was picked up and taken to an army torture camp. He is one of the few inmates who lived to recall what happened.

Al Jazeera's John Cookson went to meet him in the capital Kathmandu.

 

The civil war may be over but the country's agony continues as relatives of the missing are unable to come to terms with their loss until they find out what happened.

 

Most of the missing are presumed to be dead but those that have survived and returned home still carry the physical and mental scars of torture.

 

Bijari Bhattari told Al Jazeera: "After the torture they threatened to kill me and carried out mock executions".

 

Hundreds of people were picked up by both sides in the conflict but by far the largest number fell into the hands of the Nepalese army.

 

Red Cross

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Al Jazeera that it still has almost a thousand cases under investigation.

 

Exclusive report

Watch Al Jazeera's exclusive interview with Bijari Bhattari

"What we know from many conflict situations is that people are not able to resolve themselves with what happened during the conflict if the missing issue is not dealt with", Mary Werntz, from the ICRC, said.

 

"This is where we would say in order to truly move forward as a society and to deal with what went on during the conflict part of that resolution has to come through working properly on the issue of the fatal missing people."

 

Bhattari was only 14 years-old when he was picked up by the army for being a supporter of the Maosists and taken to a torture centre.

He agreed to go back with Al Jazeera to the place of his 18 month interrogation and recalled that many of those detained died under torture in their cells or were taken away and shot.

 

This is the first time Bhattari has seen the torture camp since his release.

 

"I never thought I would be able to come back to this place but now that you brought me here, I feel a lot better," he said.

 

Al Jazeera asked the Nepalese army to comment on Bhattari's case and thousands of others but they declined.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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