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Nepal's Maoists Hand Over Control of Ex-Rebels

Maoist combatants greet Nepal's Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at the Shaktikhor Maoist cantonment in Chitwan, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Katmandu, 22 Jan 2011

Nepal's Maoist former rebels formally handed command of their fighters over to the government on Saturday.

A cross-party committee will now monitor the 19,000 former fighters who have been confined to camps around Nepal since the civil war ended in 2006.

Nepal's government now has the task of integrating the former rebels into the security forces.

The peace agreement that ended the Himalayan nation's decade-long civil war says the former fighters should be allowed to join Nepal's security forces, but resistance from the military and political disagreements have delayed the process.

A U.N. peace mission had monitored the rebels until recently.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.