Timeline Bhutan Year 2008

January 16

A Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) patrol exchanged fire with a group of militants in Lower Dhanessey in Tsirang. The militants, who had come from the camps in Nepal, escaped into the forest but the patrol found their camp, which had three sheds stocked with some clothing and rations.

January 17

The first general elections to choose 47 candidates for Bhutan’s National Assembly, the lower House of Parliament, will be held on March 24, 2008, the Election Commission announced. Two parties — Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and People’s Democratic Party — will contest the elections that will formally end absolute monarchy in the country.

January 19

RBA personnel arrested a militant, Dal Bahadur Tamang, who informed them that there had been 26 militants in the camp in Tsirang (in which there was an encounter on January 16) and that the leader's name was Boli Bhawan. He also revealed that they belonged to the Bhutan Tiger Force, the militant wing of the Nepal-based Communist Party of Bhutan, and that they had entered Bhutan in December 2007, from Kachugaon village in Assam in India's Northeast.

January 20

Four bomb blasts occurred in four different districts, including one in the capital Thimpu. The first blast occurred near the vegetable market in the Samste district while the second one took place in Thimphu town, behind the SNS restaurant. A third blast occurred near the gate of the Tala Guest House at Gedu in the Chukha district in which a woman suffered splinter injuries. The fourth blast occurred at Dagapela in the Dagana district, behind the house of one Passang Tshering. A second device which did not explode was found in the same area.

A spokesman for the Royal Bhutan Police said that one of the three militant organisations based in Nepal, the Bhutan Tiger Force, the Bhutan Maoists Party, and the Communist Party of Bhutan was suspected to be behind these bomb blasts.

February 3

A bomb blast occurred in the Samtse district. According to a press release from the Royal Bhutan Police, the bomb exploded behind the Renewal Natural Resources (RNR) office in Ghmauney gewog after midnight. The police also found two unexploded bombs, one behind the RNR office and another behind the gup's office, in the same compound. No casualties were reported. An unnamed police spokesperson said that they have recovered leaflets of the Communist Party of Bhutan based in Nepal from the scene threatening to stop the National Assembly election in March.

March 12

BBC quoting Bhutan police sources reported that the Police have killed at least five suspected Maoists in various operations over the last week. Police officials said that 17 suspected Maoists have also been arrested in the recent raids. An unnamed senior Bhutanese police official said that in February they had raided two small Maoist camps in the jungles in the south of the country and arrested at least eight Maoists, including a 'commander', along with weapons.

March 13

Royal Bhutan Police said that a civilian Bik Bahadur Subba of Dagana was killed whle handling an explosive device, which was kept at his house by a militant cadre, Ramesh Subba of the Communist Party of Bhutan based in Nepal. A police spokesman said that Ramesh Subba, along with three other militants, were responsible for planting two bombs in Dagapela on January 20.

March 15

Two explosions destroyed the foundation stub at the base of a 400 KV electric tower in Ahley village in Chukha . The tower transports hydropower from the Tala project to India. The United Revolutionary Front of Bhutan left leaflets claiming responsibility for the blasts.

March 17

An explosion near a fuel station in the industrial town of Pasakha injured an Indian worker.

March 24

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), led by former Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley, won the first ever National Assembly elections winning 44 of the 47 seats. The DPT won all the seats in the eastern, central and southern constituencies. The People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) won in Gasa, Chukha and Haa. The PDP president, Sangay Ngedup, lost in his constituency, Kabji-Talo under Punakha, to DPT’s Tshering Penjore. According to the Election Commission of Bhutan, the voter turnout was close to 80 percent.

April 8

Jigmi Y Thinley, president of the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), that won a landslide victory in Bhutan's first parliamentary elections held on March 24, has been unanimously endorsed by the party as the country's Prime Minister-elect, The Hindu reported. The endorsement came at an executive meeting of the DPT in Thimphu on April 5, said spokesperson of the party, Palden Tshering. The meeting also discussed the names of those to be nominated to the Cabinet of the country's first elected government. The Cabinet will have 10 Ministers, besides the Prime Minister. Thinley will be receiving a congratulatory scarf on being elected Prime Minister from King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck on April 9.

December 30

Four Bhutanese foresters were killed and two others injured after their tractor was blown up by an improvised explosive device planted on the road about four kilometres west of Singay village in the Sarpang District. The six foresters were going from Sarpang to their camp in Phibsoo when the device exploded at about 3.00pm (BST). The attackers then fired at them killing the four on the spot and burned their bodies using the tractor tyres. One forester who escaped with two bullet injuries to Singay village informed the Police, while another injured forester hid in the jungle until he was rescued by a search team at 10:00pm. The militants took away two SLR rifles with 40 rounds and a motorola handset used by the forest personnel. A Police spokesman said that militants of the Communist Party of Bhutan based in Nepal were believed to be responsible for the incident.

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.