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- Wednesday, October 03, 2012 - From Print Edition


KATHMANDU: The one-time leader of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency on Tuesday launched a new tourist trekking trail, giving visitors the chance to retrace the guerrillas’ footsteps.


The Guerrilla Trek, a three-week hike which stretches across central and western Nepal, is designed to draw in more foreigners as the Himalayan nation seeks to rebuild an economy devastated by the 1996-2006 “People’s War”.


“I hope this will be a new chapter in Nepal’s tourism. Many countries that have emerged from war have tried to capitalise on the memory of war,” Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known as Prachanda, told reporters.


“A huge political change occurred in Nepal but we cannot sustain it unless there is an economic transformation. I hope the Guerrilla Trek will play an important role.”


An estimated 16,000 people died in the decade-long conflict fought by Prachanda and his fellow Maoists against the once-absolute monarchy. The rebels later turned to politics and took power in elections two years later.