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India-Pakistan
Maoists forced kidnap officer into eight-hour route march
2003-10-22
...Subjected hapless captives to many excruciating hours of communist philosophising
EFL

A British Army officer kidnapped by Maoist rebels in Nepal was released yesterday and described being abducted and marched for eight hours to a remote camp. Lt Col Adrian Griffith, kidnapped with three Gurkha soldiers and three porters, said he and his group had been treated well during 40 hours in captivity.

Col Griffith, looking fit, told The Daily Telegraph that the rebels appeared in the village of Lekhani, 180 miles west of Kathmandu, on Sunday evening wearing plain clothes. He said his group was "abducted" while on a mission to recruit Nepalese into the Gurkhas. After taking Col Griffith and his men aside, the Maoists "made it clear they wanted a word with us, some distance away". As they began their march into the remote countryside "it soon became clear ’some distance away’ meant a very long way. "We were marched by stages through the night. It’s difficult to know how far. We had no idea how long they would keep us." After eight hours Col Griffith and the six people abducted with him stopped at a hut where they were allowed to rest and sleep. "We were fed rice and lentils and slept on the floor on wooden boards for two nights."

Col Griffith, chief of staff at the Gurkha camp in Kathmandu, said: "They told us the reason for taking us was to publicise their cause. They chose me because they could explain to me in Nepali what their points were." Having served all his working life in the Brigade of Gurkhas, Col Griffith speaks fluent Nepali. Senior Maoists spent one-and-a-half days expounding their philosophy and then asked Col Griffith to explain British army recruitment activities in the area.

At midday yesterday the Maoists said they were releasing their prisoners and the group were taken to a road where the rebels had arranged for a private vehicle to drive them to the city of Pokhara, 40 miles from where they were captured. Before they drove off, the rebels gathered villagers, "made a five minute speech about what they believed, shook hands and off we went". From Pokhara the men were flown by helicopter to Kathmandu, where they arrived last night.

During their captivity the rebels wore civilian clothes and did not display any arms, Col Griffith said. He added that a BBC team including Michael Palin had been filming his unit but did not witness the abduction and the rebels did not appear interested in them. Palin told the BBC that Col Griffith and his team had disappeared "shortly after it got dark. "We’d stopped filming. The recruiting officer came to our tent looking a bit uncomfortable and said he had been approached by some people from the local area who wanted to talk to him and to some of the Gurkha officers. "After half an hour we understood they wanted to take the Gurkhas and the British officer for further discussions with what they called their high command. There was not really anything much one could do. The Maoists run a lot in these areas, so they left and we hoped they would be back that night."

A British military source in Kathmandu said the army was delighted they were back safe but had no intention of amending recruiting practices which were "fair and well run".
"We want to tell the Maoists that they don’t scare us that easily. One and a half days of philosphy and finger-wagging? Our men can take weeks of that s*** without breaking. One and a half days of Chinese opera - now that’s something we’d have to take seriously."
Posted by:Bulldog

#10  OP, Norfolk bangers? Not your average British sausage then? Personally, I've never had haggis able to match the best British sausages/bangers, though admittedly the quality of both can vary wildly.
Posted by: Bulldog   2003-10-22 6:22:52 PM  

#9  That's right, Mojo! Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, Washington would never cave to the Commies!
First thing I thought of when I read this. Hope they didn't make him wash the People's Truck...
Posted by: tu3031   2003-10-22 2:47:59 PM  

#8  Bulldog,
I find haggis a major improvement over "bangers". Spent a week at an RAF base north of Norwich, during a NATO exercise. Gaaaackkkkk!!!!!!
Posted by: Old Patriot   2003-10-22 1:59:27 PM  

#7  Chinese opera is at least entertaining. Have you ever tried to sit through Beethoven's Fidelio?
Posted by: Mercutio   2003-10-22 1:47:03 PM  

#6  If hostages have trouble with several hours of heavy moaist indoctrination, British Officers can be enrolled in Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio) for a semester. Any normal person who can remain sane after that type of extended moaist indoctrination should be proof for life against all inodctrinations. My younger brother graduated from Oberlin in the late 80's. It took family members a number of years to de-program him.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-22 12:45:39 PM  

#5  "...So fight! Fight! Fight! for Washington State!..."
Posted by: mojo   2003-10-22 12:36:43 PM  

#4  Q: Are we talking Chinese Opera pre-49 or post-49? Is Jiang Ching involved?

Maybe these guys are onto something, though...

Should we hire Germaine Greer & Betty Friedan to give a lecture series on Modern Femnism, rather than torturing the Gitmo detainees with friendly translators and rock music?
Posted by: snellenr   2003-10-22 10:40:52 AM  

#3  Zhang Fei: How coincidental (not *wink*) you should say that! I happen to be interning in a Chinatown museum (Museum of Chinese in the Americas) whose latest exhibit is Chinese opera - the Cantonese kind :P

P.S. I've grown from agnostic to leaning "semi-Deist" recently -- WAY too many coincidences in life for a God to be lacking ...
Posted by: Lu Baihu   2003-10-22 10:22:30 AM  

#2  No thanks, ZF. Had the opportunity to experience some Chinese opera whilst in Lijiang. After hearing the accounts of those traumatised souls who had been before, though, we decided to spend the evening supping Tsing Tao in a rat-infested bar.

I quite like haggis. Couldn't have lasted four years in Scotland otherwise...
Posted by: Bulldog   2003-10-22 10:17:08 AM  

#1  One and a half days of Chinese opera - now that’s something we’d have to take seriously.

I figure an hour or so should do the trick. Chinese opera's a lot like haggis - definitely an acquired taste. For a taste of this practically extinct art form (the opera, not the haggis), grab a copy of Farewell My Concubine from the video store.
Posted by: Zhang Fei   2003-10-22 9:27:17 AM  

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