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Nepal frees detained Indian security personnel

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New Delhi/Kathmandu, Nov 29: Nepal has freed two Indian security personnel who were detained after they entered the Himalayan nation while chasing smugglers on Sunday, a senior official said.

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) official said a patrolling party of 13 men was after smugglers near the India-Nepal border when constables Roshan and Ram Prasad mistakenly entered Nepal in foggy weather.

Both were detained by authorities there. Nepalese media earlier reported that 13 SSB personnel were detained.

Both SSB personnel were released in the afternoon, and they have returned to Indian territory, the official told IANS.

The Kathmandu Post Times reported earlier that the Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) detained 13 SSB men at Kechana in Jhapa after they entered Nepal while chasing oil smugglers.

They were kept at an APF camp in Kechana, it said.

Jhapa Chief District Officer Tej Prasad Poudel said they were trying to ascertain if the SSB personnel mistakenly entered Nepal.

Residents were quoted as saying that the detained SSB personnel had thrashed a Nepali, Mohammad Alam, while searching his home for smugglers. Four of the 13 SSB personnel had weapons, the report said.

The APF team reached Alam’s house and detained the Indians.

The SSB personnel reportedly entered Nepal by crossing the no man’s land from Kechana, the media reports said.

Smuggling of petrol and diesel has become rampant on the India-Nepal border ever since protests in Madhesi populated areas since September has effectively led to a blockade of the border.

Meanwhile, an Indian number plate bearing jeep was vandalized at Kanchanpur in Nepal, a media report said. Five Maoist cadres were detained following the incident, The Kathmandu Post said.

Police escorted the vandalized jeep across the border into India.

(IANS)

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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)