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Six Tibetans arrested for illegally entering Nepal

media Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Six Tibetans have been detained in Nepal for illegally entering the country, police said Wednesday. The group is the first confirmed case of Tibetan exiles fleeing the Tibet-Nepal border in the past year.

The men, aged 16 to 27, were being held in a Himalayan village 120 kilometres northeast of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Umesh Raj Joshi, the deputy superintendant of Dolakha district, bordering Tibet, told the AFP news agency that the men were arrested on Tuesday morning by local police and had been handed over to immigration authorities.

Thousands of Tibetans have in the past made the dangerous journey to Nepal each year, in an attempt to escape the political and religious repression in China.

Tibetans were previously given safe passage through Nepal under an informal agreement with the UN refugee agency. Many continued on to India, where the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, lives in the northern town of Dharamsala.

Following the 2008 riots in Tibet, cross-border journeys diminished significantly due to China’s pressure on Nepal to strengthen border security and stem the flow of Tibetans into Nepal.

In US embassy cables released by Wikileaks last year, it was suggested that China paid Nepalese police to detain Tibetans.

Nepal, which is now home to 20,000 Tibetan exiles, denied the accusation.

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