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Nepal's Maoist Govt to return land, property

NEPAL: Nepal's Maoist prime minister has pledged that former rebels will return land and property they seized during the country's bitter civil war, officials said Wednesday.

Nepal's Maoists signed up for peace in 2006 and now control the government after winning elections earlier this year that led to the abolition of the country's unpopular monarchy.

During the decade-long insurgency that killed at least 13,000 people, Nepal's Maoists grabbed land and property owned by thousands of absentee landlords in the rural areas they controlled.

"The prime minister said that if the property was not returned before the December 15 deadline the government would provide compensation," said Ram Chandra Poudel, a lawmaker from the Nepali Congress party.

The ultra-leftists were elected promising revolutionary land reform in Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, and vowed to help landless agricultural workers.

At least 900 Congress members have land or property that remain under Maoist control, Poudel told AFP.

The party has 115 seats in the 601-member Maoist-dominated body that is to draft a new constitution.

"If the property is not returned, we will launch protests against the government," he said.

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