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BURMA COMMANDER VOWS NO LET-UP IN
- Subject: BURMA COMMANDER VOWS NO LET-UP IN
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1993 15:02:00
Subject: BURMA COMMANDER VOWS NO LET-UP IN
/* Written 2:33 pm Nov 17, 1992 by burma@xxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.seasia */
/* ---------- "BURMA COMMANDER VOWS NO LET-UP IN" ---------- */
RTw 11/16 0157 BURMA COMMANDER VOWS NO LET-UP IN KAREN WAR
By Sutin Wannabovorn
CHIANG MAI, Thailand, Nov 16, Reuter - Senior Burmese officials, in
Thailand to discuss border tensions, said on Monday the Rangoon government
would press the war against ethnic minorities unless they surrendered.
The eastern regional commander, Major General Muang Aye, told reporters
the Burmese army had ended its unilateral truce and resumed the offensive
inresponse to guerrilla attacks.
"We merely resumed military operations to retake our positions taken by
the Karen," he said as he headed into the talks with Thai officials to discuss
Burmese army incursions into Thailand.
Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Nyunt Swe added: "Whether the war
or not depends on the Karen. If they want peace, just surrender."
Rangoon reported last week that almost 400 combatants from both sides were
killed in three months of clashes.
Fighting is likely to intensify as the monsoons have ended. Burmese troops
are closing in on key camps of the Karen, strongest of the ethnic minority
The Chiang Mai talks were called because fighting has spilled over into
Burmese troops have chased guerrillas across the border and dug in around
Thai villages, prompting the Thais to mobilise. Several thousand Karen
have streamed over the Moie River which marks the frontier.
Thai army and rebel sources said Rangoon had sent more than 10,000
freshtroops to the border for the dry season offensive.
Major Walter, Karen commander at Mae Rahta camp on the banks of
River, told Reuters there at the weekend: "The enemy soldiers are preparing
their supplies and transportation.
"I expect they will launch the offensive in the second week of December,"
Mae Rahta is about five km (three miles) from Sleeping Dog Hill, scene of
one of the fiercest battles of the last campaign.
About 4,000 Burmese troops are now stationed on the hill, from where
artillery can reach the Karen headquarters at Manerplaw.
A Thai army source, who asked not to be named, said the war would go onif
only to give the ruling junta in Rangoon a reason to prolong their rule.
"If there is no fighting, the military junta has no justification for
continuing their stay in power so do not expect peace in Burma in the near
future," he said.
The Thai government generally has cordial relations with the junta despite
widespread international criticism of its human rights record since it seized
power in a 1988 coup.
But regional commanders also often turn a blind eye when Karen and
otherethic minorities cross the border.
The Karen National Union have been fighting since Burma's independence
from Britain in 1948, when Karen autonomy was promised but not given.
REUTER SUT JB GD