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Wired News on Jan. 31, '95
- Subject: Wired News on Jan. 31, '95
- From: FreeBurma@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 22:23:00
Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Wired News on Jan.31, '95
Australia joins chorus of protest against Burma
CANBERRA, Jan 31 (Reuter) - Australia joined a chorus of international
protest on Tuesday against the attack by Burma's military on a rebellious
ethnic minority living on the border with Thailand.
The ongoing offensive, which has sent thousands of Karen refugees fleeing
into Thailand, has dealt a blow to Burma's emerging peace process and cast
serious doubts over the government's intentions, Australian Foreign Minister
Gareth Evans said.
The United States and human rights groups have also expressed serious
concern at the offensive.
Evans used his attack on Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration
Council to express disappointment that former Australian prime minister Bob
Hawke, who visited Burma recently as a businessman, failed to raise human
``I have conveyed to Mr Hawke...my disappointment, both at the missed
opportunity to reinforce the views of the whole world community, and the
significance likely to be attributed by the regime to the issue not being
raised,'' Evans told parliament.
Hawke's visit, during which he met Burma's senior military intelligence
chief and transport minister, has been condemned by a Burmese pro-democracy
group in Australia.
While Hawke was in the Burmese capital of Rangoon last week, troops
launched their attack on the Karen guerrilla headquarters of Manerplaw,
sending rebels fleeing into Thailand and prompting Thailand to send troops to
seal the border.
Burma's embassy in Jakarta on Monday denied that government troops were
involved in the assault, saying they had merely provided logistical support
for an attack by a splinter faction from the Karen minority.
In a statement the military-led government said the attack was launched
by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organisation (DKBO), a splinter group of the
Karen National Union (KNU).
``It is obvious that only those within that defence perimeter would be
able to launch such a rapid and successful attack. No government troops were
involved in the attack. Only logistical support was given to the DKBO,'' it
Evans called on Tuesday for Burma to call off the offensive and negotiate
a settlement with the Karen National Union and other dissident groups based
near the Thai border.
``While the Myanmar (Burma) government professed a belief in dialogue
with its political opponents, the continuing detention of (dissident leader)
Aung San Suu Kyi and the offensive against Manerplaw cast serious doubt on
the government's intentions,'' Evans said.
Nobel peace prize winner Suu Kyi is now in her sixth year of house
Transmitted: 95-01-31 04:49:48 EST
Burmese set their sights on last Karen rebel base
By Robert Birsel
MAE SOT, Thailand, Jan 31 (Reuter) - The Burmese army is shelling at
regular intervals round the clock the last major Karen guerrilla base on the
Thai-Burmese frontier, trying to exhaust its besieged defenders before a
final assault, Thai army officers said on Tuesday.
The well-fortified Karen base of Kaw Moo Ra will be difficult to capture
unless Burmese forces attack it from the rear by crossing onto the Thai side
of the border, but Thailand is determined to keep the fighting off its soil,
the officers said.
With the capture of the Karens' Manerplaw headquarters late last week,
Kaw Moo Ra, on a loop in the Moei river which forms the border with Thailand,
is the last of what only a few years ago was a series of guerrilla
strongholds along the frontier.
The base, about 15 km (10 miles) north of the Thai town of Mae Sot, is
being bombarded heavily at regular intervals, day and night.
``They're shelling them when they are preparing food, when they're
sleeping. They're not letting them rest, trying to wear them down,'' one Thai
officer reinforcing the frontier told Reuters on Tuesday.
With the Moei river curling around the south, east and north of the camp
there is just a thin neck of land several hundred metres across linking it to
The neck is mined and booby-trapped by the guerrillas and overlooked by
their heavily reinforced bunkers and machinegun positions.
The Karen call the strip of land the ``killing zone.''
Hundreds of government troops have died over recent years rushing the
rebel defences in futile human-wave attacks.
The Karen leaders say Kaw Moo Ra has little strategic value but is an
important and highly visible symbol of their 46-year fight for greater
autonomy in a federal Burma.
The Burmese appear determined to capture it. Government reinforcements
have been brought in and hundreds of porters rounded up to carry ammunition
up two hills overlooking the base from where Burmese gunners unleash massive
During the barrages the guerrillas take cover in a honeycomb of deep
bunkers and say they usually suffer minimal if any casualties.
Several years ago Burmese troops slipped across the Moei and tried to
attack Kaw Moo Ra from Thai soil to the east.
They were finally pushed back after Karen troops crossed over as well and
fought them on the Thai side.
A Thai market village on the east side of the Moei was destroyed during
the battle and the Thai army now appears determined to prevent anything
``We don't care if the Burmese and the Karen want to fight on that side
but we're not going to let them cross over,'' said a Thai officer at a
defensive position several hundred metres (yards) from the Moei.
Burmese gunners pounded Kaw Moo Ra in the early hours of Tuesday but by
dawn it was quiet.
Karen soldiers ambled down to the river to collect water while others
chopped wood and cooked their breakfast over fires.
A rifle shot in the distance sent people darting towards bunkers but this
time it turned out to be a false alarm, not the beginning of another barrage.
Transmitted: 95-01-31 03:51:43 EST