[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News: February 22, 1995

Received: (from strider) by igc2.igc.apc.org (8.6.9/Revision: 1.9 ) id JAA15302; Wed, 22 Feb 1995 09:26:25 -0800
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 1995 09:26:25 -0800

************************** BurmaNet **************************
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: Wednesday, February 22, 1995
Issue #113


               The soldiers called out things [propaganda
               broadcasts over loudspeakers toward the Karen
               troops] like, "We are all like brothers-in-law". 
               Then they shoot.  Then they speak again.  Then
               they shoot again.  Like that.  [Note: In Burmese,
               "We are like brothers-in-law" can have a double
               meaning: the friendly "we are like relatives" or
               the insulting "I've had your sister".]

                         Khine Soe, a 27 year old Arakanese
                         forced porter at Kawmoora.  <See KHRG:
                         ESCAPED PORTERS--KAWMOORAH BATTLE>


*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 


**********************MON STATE*********************************  
NMSP: EDUCATION  SITUATION  IN  MONLAND                         


****************VISIT MYANMAR YEAR 1996************************



The BurmaNet News is an      *********************************
electronic newspaper         *                  Iti          *  
covering Burma.  Articles    *                 snotpo        *
from newspapers, magazines,  *             werthatcor        *
newsletters, the wire        *            ruptsbutfea        *
services and the Internet as *           r.Fearoflos         *
well as original material    *          ingpowercor          *
are published.               *       ruptsthosewhoare        *
The BurmaNet News  is        *     subjecttoit...Theef       *
e-mailed  directly to        *     fortnecessarytoremain     *
subscribers  and  is         *   uncorruptedinanenvironm     *
also  distributed via        *  entwherefearisanintegralpar  *
the soc.culture.burma        *   tofeverydayexistenceisnoti  *
and seasia-l mailing         *     mmediatelyapparentto      *
lists and is also            *       thosefortunate         *
available via the            *       enoughtolivein          *
reg.burma conference on      *        statesgovern           *
the APC networks.  For a     *         edbytherule           *
free subscription to         *         oflaw...fear          *
the BurmaNet News, send      *          is ahab  it.         * 
an e-mail message to:        *                 Iam           *    
                             *                   no          * 
 burmanet@xxxxxxxxxxx        *                  taf          *    
                             *                   ra          *
Subscriptions are handled    *                  id.          *
manually so please allow     *                  Aun          *
for a delay before your      *                  gSa          *
request is fielded.          *                  nS           *
Letters  to  the  editor,    *                   uu          *
comments or contributions    *                   Ky          * 
of articles should be        *                   i.          *    
sent to the editor at:       ********************************* 

In Washington:

  Attention to BurmaNet
  c/o National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) 
  Information Office
  815 15th Street NW, Suite 609
  Washington D.C. 20005
  Tel: (202) 393-7342, Fax: (202) 393-7343

In Bangkok:
  Attention to BurmaNet
  c/o Burma Issues
  PO Box 1076, Silom Post Office
  Bangkok 10504 Thailand
  Tel: (066) (02) 234-6674, Fax: (066) (02) 631 0133

[The NCGUB is the government-in-exile, made up of the people who
won the election in 1990.  Burma Issues is a Bangkok-based non-
governmental organization that documents human rights conditions
in Burma and maintains an archive of Burma-related documents. 
Views expressed in The BurmaNet News do not necessarily reflect
those of either NCGUB or Burma Issues]

**************THE BURMANET NEWS--FEBRUARY 22, 1995************

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
By John Hail

   Bangkok, Feb. 21 (Upi) -- Burma's war-weary ethnic Karen
rebels announced Tuesday that they had withdrawn from their last
major stronghold, but vowed to continue their struggle against
the country's military junta.

   The fall of Kawmoora, which the Karen Natioal Union had
pledged to defend, marked a major, perhaps fatal, blow to the
47-year-old rebel movement and a decisive victory for the ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council.

   "Knu troops last night withdrew from the Knu stronghold at
Kawmoora on the Moei River," a rebel statement acknowledged. 
"Kawmoora had been under siege by the Slorc military forces which
have pounded the base with heavy artillery fire continuously
since early December."

   The statement said the Jan. 26 fall of Manerplaw, the Karens'
headquarters for the past 21 years, caused the rebel leadership
to abandon its previous "military stronghold strategy" in favor
of mobile guerrilla warfare against the Burmese.

   "The withdrawal of the Knu from Kawmoora must therefore be
seen not as a defeat but the next logical step in the
reconstruction of the Knu, that it will continue to struggle,
with its allies and all the opposition forces in Burma, for
peace, democracy and justice for all the people of Burma."

   In addition to bearing the brunt of Rangoon's biggest-ever
military offensive against it, the Knu has been crippled by an
internal split between its mainly Christian leadership and its
predominantly Buddhist and Animist rank-and-file.

   Buddhist defectors participated in the Burmese assault on
Manerplaw and also took part in the siege of Kawmoora.

   Thai military officers monitoring the batle from Mae Sot, 240
miles (386 km) northwest of Bangkok and directly across the
border from Kawmoora, said between 700 and 800 Karen soldiers and
civilians crossed into Thailand at about 7 a.m. local time
Tuesday from the fallen Karen base.

   Several hundred more Karens had fled into Thailand after a
heavy Burmese artillery barrage about three hours earlier, a Thai
officer said. 

   "Thai soldiers moved in to control the situation," he said.
"We did this to keep the refugees under control and disarm the
Karen troops."
    Another officer said Burmese gunners fired more than 400
rounds of artillery and mortar rounds into the besieged Kawmoora
base over a 12-hour period between Monday afternoon and Tuesday

   The barrage included incendiary phosphorous shells, the
officer said.    During the artillery bombardment of Kawmoora,
which is located in a loop of the Moei River and surrounded on
three sides by Thai territory, about 40 shells reportedly landed
inside Thailand.

   The spill-over of the fighting prompted Thai gunners to fire
several warning smoke shells into Burma, according to military
sources.  up 55 m 0210607 ---End---

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
21 February 1995

Released by:   Burma Issues
          Bangkok, Thailand
          fax: 66 2 631 0133

Reports of poison shells falling in and around the Karen National
Union's Kawmoora military base on the Thailand-Burma border have
been steadily coming from Mae Sot district in eastern
Thailand.  Under the direction of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (in a foreign country, and endangering the
lives of Thai border guards and soldiers, the Burmese junta has
obligated the international community to take immediate action. 
Governments, multilateral bodies and all people concerned with
human rights in Burma are urged to: 
     Contact Burmese (Myanmar) government representatives and
demand a detailed account of the weapons and tactics used by the
SLORC in its offensives against Burma's ethnic minorities, with
special reference to the current seizure of Kawmoora. 
     As more information becomes available, bring the allegations
of chemical weapons use to the attention of the United Nations
Security Council. 
     Review their policies towards diplomatic, economic, military
and technical support for the SLORC in light of its renewed
military offensives, attacks on civilian  communities, and
blatant disregard for international human rights standards.

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
February 20, 1995

Released by:   Burma Issues
               Bangkok, Thailand
               Fax: 066 02 631 0133

 In continuing efforts to capture Kawmoora, the Karen National
Union's military base on the Thailand-Burma border, the Burmese
army under the direction of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) has intensified its shelling of locations on both
sides of the international boundary

 Five shells (105mm, 106mm and/or 120mm) fell within
approximately five hundred feet of a densely populated market at
the Hway Ka Lok refugee camp (also known as Wan Kha and Camp #1)
at approximately 5:30 pm Thai time. Home to five thousand Karen
refugees, Hway Ka Lok is roughly four kilometers into Thailand
from the river boundary, situated on higher ground than the
battle zones on the Burma side. Although the SLORC has been
shelling Kawmoora heavily since December-- when it reneged on a
unilateral cease-fire delared in 1992-- this afteroon's events
mark the first incident where civilians at the refugee camp have
been targets for artillery fire. Of the thousands of shells fired
in the last two months only these, coming after a resounding
defeat and retreat of attacking SLORC troops on February 7-8,
have landed anywhere near the camp. However, over the last two
weeks disturbing reports have emerged of similar or worse
incidents at other camps lining the border.

 The Royal Thai Army resonded to these dangerous infringements
with return artillery fire to the Sons opposite Kawmoora and
reinforcements of Thai soldiers along the border. As night falls
in Thailand, the Karen expect yet another ground assault on their
base, the Thais ready themselves to repel an incursion into Thai
territory, and the refugees at Hway Ka Lok wait anxiously the
SLORC's next move. 

This latest display of unrestrnce further underscores the
Burmese military junta's disregard for both the rights of
civilians trapped in conflict areas and the sovereignty of
international boundaries. Foreign governments, multi-lateral
bodies, human rights proponents as well as anyone interested in
peace in Burma are urged to communicate to the SLORC that its
continued violence and threats of violence against civilians--
especially refugees-- are the unacceptable actions of an
illegitimate military regime.

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
21 February 1995

Burmese government troops resumed an offensive against the last
major Karen rebel base on the Thai-Burmese border yester- day,
pounding it with hundreds of artillery shells, mortar bombs and

The barrage, which began mid-afternoon, was by far the heaviest
since February 8 when Burmese troops made an unsuccessful and
costly frontal attack on the Karen's Kawmoora base. 

A Thai army officer said about 40 Burmese shells landed on the
Thai side of the border, some of them as deep as four km (two and
a half miles) inside Thai territory. Thai forces responded with
several warning smoked shells fired at Burmese positions, he

By early evening heavy small arms fire could be heard, indi-
cating that Burmese troops were making an assault on the well-
fortified base, the Thai officer said.

Kawmoora, the last major Karen stronghold on the Thai-Burmese
frontier since the loss of their headquarters at Manerplaw of
January 27, is located in a horse-shoe shaped loop of the Moei
River, with Thai territory on three sides.

Thailand last week issued a stern warning to Burma not to vio-
late Thai territory in its campaign against the autonomy-seek-
ing guerrillas.

About 50 Burmese troops tried to cross into Thai territory on
February 8 in order to double back and hit the camp from the rear
but they were driven back by Thai warning shots and Karen fire
from their base.

Burmese forces crossed into Thailand in 1989 in an earlier
attempt to seize the base and were only pushed back when karen
guerrillas also crossed over and fought them on Thai soil. (BP)

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
February 20, 1995

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Intensive shelling by Burmese troops of
an ethnic rebel stronghold spilled onto Thai soil Monday, with
several shells falling near the crowded market of a refugee camp,
a report said.
        The shelling of the Kawmoora camp of the ethnic Karen
rebels marked a flare-up in fighting that began in December. The
camp is just across the border from Thailand, near the Thai town
of Mae Sot, which is about 375 kilometers (230 miles) northwest
of Bangkok.
        The headquarters of the Karen National Union at
Manerplaw, 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Kawmoora, fell to
Burmese troops in late January after a six-day siege.
        Thai military authorities on the border Monday reported
intensive shelling of Kawmoora, at the rate of about 200 rounds
an hour, beginning at 2 p.m. They said about 100 rounds of 800
fired had landed on Thai soil by early evening.
        In response, Thai villagers in the area were moved
further away from the frontier, and the Thai army was moving
heavy artillery pieces to the area to respond in kind to further
incursions. The number of soldiers at the border has also been
        A Bangkok-based support group for the Burmese opposition
meanwhile reported that the shelling of a refugee camp rritory
occurred in circumstances that suggested it was
        Burma Issues, which publishes a monthly newsletter on
resistance to Burma's military regime, said that five shells fell
Monday afternoon about 500 feet from a crowded market at the Hway
Ka Lok refugee camp, which is home to 5,000 Burmese Karen
         Hway Ka Lok, also known as Wan Kha and  1, is four
kilometers (2.5 miles) from the river border with Burma, and
situated on higher ground than the battle area.
        ``Of the thousands of shells fired n the ast two months,
only these, coming after a resounding defeat and retreat of
attacking SLORC (Burmese government) troops on February 7-8, have
landed anywhere near the camp,'' said Burma Issues, which has
given reliable information in the past. ``However, over the last
two weeks, disturbing reports have emerged of similar of worse
incidents at othercmps lining the border.''
        The Karen defenders of Kawmoora on Feb. 7-8 turned back
several ground assaults on their base, killing about 50 Burmese
         Thai military sources said the Burmese government last
week sent huge amounts of artillery shells and food to the
Kawmoora front, along with 3,000 m. The total number of
combatants on each side in not known.

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
February 21, 1995

         Miland (Reuter) - Burmese government troops
resumed an offensive against the last major Karen rebel base on
the Thai-Burmese border Monday, pounding it with hundreds of
artillery shells, mortar bombs and rockets.
         The barrage, which began mid-afternoon, was by far the
heaviest since Feb. 8 when Burmese troops made an unsuccessful
and costly frontal attack on the Karen's Kawmoora base.
         A Thai army officer said about 40 Burmese shells landed
on the Thai side of the border, some of them as deep as two and a
half miles inside Thai territory. Thai forces responded with
several warning smoke shells fired at Burmese positions, he said.
         By early evening heavy small arms fire could be heard,
indicating that Burmese troops were making an assualt on the
well-fortified base, the Thai officer said.
         Kawmoora, the last major Karen stronghold on the
Thai-Burmese frontier since the loss of their headquarters at
Manerplaw Jan. 27, is located in a horse-shoe shaped loop of the
Moei river, with Thai territory on three sides.
         Thailand last week issued a stern warning to Burma not
to violate Thai territory in its campaign against the
autonomy-seeking guerrillas.
         About 50 Burmese troops tried to cross into Thai
territory Feb. 8 in order to double back and hit the camp from
the rear but they were driven back by Thai warning shots and
Karen fire from their base.
         Burmese forces crossed into Thailand in 1989 in an
earlier attempt to seize the base and were only pushed back when
Karen guerrillas also crossed over and fought them on Thai soil.  
       A Thai market village opposite Kawmoora was burned down in
the battle.
         Thai army officers said more than 50 Burmese soldiers
were killed and a similar number wounded in their Feb. 8 attack.
Guerrilla sources put Burmese casualties at twice that.
         Since then Burmese commanders have been rotating their
units and bringing in extra heavy weapons aion to continue
their attack, Thai military sources said.
         The latest Burmese offensive against the Karen, which
began in mid-December, has sent more than 6,000 refugees into
Thailand where there are already more than 60,000 displaced Karen
people in a string of camps on the Thai side of the frontier.

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
An Independent Report by the Karen Human Rights Group
February 4, 1995     /     KHRG #95-06

In December 1994, SLORC troops resumed their heavy offensive on
the Karen border stronghold of Kawmoorah, sometimes known as Wan
Kha, just north of Myawaddy and the Thai town of Mae Sot.  SLORC
has held Kawmoorah under siege, with regular offensives and heavy
shelling, for years now.  The SLORC Army regularly uses human
waves of teenage conscripts, often drugged and sometimes armed
only with hand grenades, to try to take Kawmoorah.  As a result,
SLORC casualty figures have been massive, but Kawmoorah still
holds.  However, the current offensive is the heaviest ever, and
after taking Manerplaw in late January the SLORC seems desperate
to get Kawmoorah this season.  Part of the reason might be that
Kawmoorah poses an embarrassment and a security threat to the
Thai-SLORC "Friendship Bridge" now under construction between Mae
Sot and Myawaddy.  Of course, in the process SLORC troops have
been taking thousands of civilian porters, primarily in the
Myawaddy area.  Some of them are escaping into Thailand.  The
following testimonies were gathered in interviews between 14 and
17 January 1995 by two independent human rights reporters, who
have kindly forwarded them to KHRG.

The porters refer to SLORC's propaganda broadcasts through
loudspeakers to Karen troops: most of these have focussed on the
recent problems between Karen Christians and Buddhists, making it
clear that SLORC hopes a religious schism will help them capture
Kawmoorah as was the case in Manerplaw.  The porters' names have
been changed and some other details omitted in order to protect
them.  Please feel free to use this report in any way which may
help the suffering people of Burma.

TOPIC SUMMARY: Transport of porters (Stories #1,3), Food and
living conditions (#1,3), Beatings (#1,3), Killings (#1,3),
Sickness (#1,3), Porters in fighting zone (#1,2,3), Making
bunkers (#1,2,3), Porters carrying soft drinks (#1), Boy soldiers
(#3), Treatment of escaped porters (#1,3), Psychological warfare
(#2,3), Extortion and other abuses (#3), Soldier suicide (#3).
_____________ #1.
NAME:     "Than Myint"            SEX: M     AGE: 21   Burman
Buddhist construction worker
ADDRESS:  Thaton District

I was arrested in Thaton town at about 11 p.m. [Thaton is a long
150 km. northeast of Kawmoorah.]  It was more than a month ago. 
I was walking on the road, coming back from the cinema.  I went
to see Rambo, the first one.  The police arrested me, and they
detained me for 2 days.  During that time they asked me no
questions.  Then they just handed me over to the soldiers, #118
Battalion [part of #44 Light Infantry Division].  From Thaton we
were taken to Pa'an, and we spent one night at Pa'an.  They kept
us in a monastery called Ye Tha.  The monks didn't say anything. 
Then to Thingan Nyi Naung and directly on to the army positions
in front of Kawmoorah.  From Thaton to Thingan Nyi Naung we were
tied together in groups of five.  We were put on the trucks like

First I had to carry ammunition.  It was really big [his gesture
indicated probably more than a 100 mm. large-calibre shell,
possibly the 106 mm. recoilless gun shells being used against
Kawmoorah].  We had to carry one per person from Hill 1450 to Ga
Lu, in front of Kawmoorah.  Each day we had to make 3 round
trips.  We started at 6 a.m. and finished after dark, about 7
p.m.  Other porters cooked for us and gave us our food wrapped up
to carry along the  way - 1 cup of cooked rice, beans and boiled
papaya trunk.  Every time it was the same.  The beans were good
to receive, but they were in very watery soup.  Sometimes we also
got leaves from the jungle, but I don't know what they were.  We
had to build a bamboo fence and sleep inside it, and it was
guarded.  If we tried to go out, we were beaten.  We had to sleep
on the ground with no blankets.  They gave us nothing.  We had to
sleep tied together in groups of five.  When we went to the
toilet, 5 of us had to go together.

Being a porter was harder than my construction work.  There were
more than 50 porters in my group - maybe 55.  Most of them were
rural villagers from around Myawaddy.  We were carrying
ammunition,  sometimes including 60 mm. [mortar] shells, and
food, soldiers' packs, as well as Sprite in green bottles and
other soft drinks.  [Note: Sprite (a CocaCola product) is not
made in Burma, though it may have been brought in from Mae Sot or
through CocaCola importers in Rangoon.  PepsiCo has a joint
venture with SLORC and bottles 7up in Burma in green bottles. 
Sprite may be a slip in translation (because Sprite is more
common in Thailand than 7up) or it may be correct.  Regardless,
some of the 'other soft drinks' being carried by the porters are
probably products of the PepsiCo/SLORC joint venture.]  I saw
beatings, and I was also beaten when I couldn't carry my load. 
The soldiers always pointed their guns and threatened us.  Along
the way a man died because he was too tired.  It was near Hill
1450.  I saw him myself.  He had been beaten just before we
arrived, and was on the side of the path.  There was a wound on
his head, and there were wounds on his shoulders.  He was over
30, maybe 40 years old.

Usually after dark, the soldiers ordered us to take the
ammunition right to the hilltop.  I saw [Karen] shells fall on
the hill, and one bunker was smashed by a direct hit.  Sometimes
they also made us cut down trees and take the logs there to make
new defences. 

The soldiers told us not to run away, but the work was so severe,
the food was so bad, and we got no shelter, so I couldn't resist
the opportunity to escape.  I ran with 3 others on the morning of
January 16th, at 6 a.m.  The soldiers ordered us to go and cut
wood and sent a guard with us, but we got some distance from him
and we all started to run.  He shot at us so we all separated,
and I don't know what happened to the others.  One of them was in
his 30's, one in his 20's and the other was old, his hair was
grey - maybe more than 50 years old.  He was from Kyaik Done.  I
think they probably didn't get away.  [No sign has been seen of
the others, so they were probably recaptured.  The usual penalty
for attempted escape is beating, torture, and sometimes death.] 
Now I have an itchy skin disease [some kind of fungus], but
nothing serious.  I have no money to go home, but I will try to
_____________ #2.
1)  NAME: "Nyi Nyi"      SEX: M    AGE: 26   Burman Buddhist
ADDRESS:  Thaton District

2)  NAME: "Khine Soe"         SEX: M    AGE: 27   Arakanese
Buddhist ADDRESS:   Thaton District

Nyi Nyi:  We came to Myawaddy District to work harvesting paddy,
but we hadn't been there long before we were arrested.  The two
of us came together and we were staying with friends.  We were
all arrested, 5 of us altogether.  Our 3 friends are still with
#118 Battalion.  It was about one month ago, around midday
because the two of us were walking home for our lunch when we
were arrested.  I don't know what Army unit it was.  They went
around and arrested many people.  Then they gave us to #118
Battalion.  Sometimes they made us carry logs to the frontline,
and sometimes we had to dig holes [bunkers or foxholes].  There
were about 8 big guns positioned near us, and I saw more than 200
soldiers around.  Last night the [Karen] shells fell quite close
to us.  We ran away early this morning [on Jan. 17], crossed the
river and met Thai soldiers.

Khine Soe:  We were there about 25 days.  We had to carry logs,
and then they ordered us to bury one of the dead soldiers.  The
dead soldier was young, maybe about 18.  One soldier from 118
Battalion died from the shelling on the 16th [January] and one on
the 15th [that he saw].  The soldiers called out things
[propaganda broadcasts over loudspeakers toward the Karen troops]
like, "We are all like brothers-in-law".  Then they shoot.  Then
they speak again.  Then they shoot again.  Like that.  Then the
Karen soldiers shot back, and they went silent.  Two or three
shells fell on the #118 Battalion positions, and they all laid
down and were quiet.  [Note: In Burmese, "We are like
brothers-in-law" can have a double meaning: the friendly "we are
like relatives" or the insulting "I've had your sister".]
_____________ #3.
1)  NAME: "U Myat Soe"        SEX: M    AGE: 35   Burman Buddhist
ADDRESS:  Rangoon

2)  NAME: "Maung Htun"        SEX: M    AGE: 23   Burman Buddhist
ADDRESS:  Kawkareik

U Myat Soe:  I was living in Myawaddy.  Around December 15th, at
night, I was arrested because I had no permit to stay in
Myawaddy.  We were in the first group arrested in Myawaddy.  I
was arrested by the police, but they gave me to #118 Battalion at
Thingan Nyi Naung and they took me to the place opposite
Kawmoorah.  Along the way we were tied together in groups of

Maung Htun:  I was arrested in Myawaddy.  I had been working at a
river jetty.  Because I am from Kawkareik, I needed a permit from
the section leader to stay in Myawaddy, and I didn't have one.  I
was arrested by soldiers on the road at 7 p.m., as I was walking
home.  We were both arrested on the same day.  We slept at the
Battalion base for one night, in the barracks.  There were more
than 100 people [all porters] there.  Then we were sent out from

U Myat Soe:  We travelled by truck.  There were about 40 people
in my truck.  After the truck stopped, we walked with soldiers
until night, travelling in 2 groups of about 20 people each.  At
night we arrived at Meh Pa Leh and slept there.  As porters we
had to carry ammunition and rice.  They had 10 donkeys there for
the first few days, then they were gone.  Each person had to
carry 1 very big shell [probably 106 mm. Recoilless Gun shells],
or two 120 mm. [mortar] shells, or rice, 2 people to carry one
sack.  It was very tiring.  One porter died.  He died along the
path, maybe the 16th or 17th of December.  I didn't see how he
died.  When I saw him he was still alive and groaning, then other
porters who came along later told me he was dead.

The biggest shells we carried were about 4 feet long, with
writing in English on them.  We usually had to carry ammunition
to a hill in front of Kawmoorah, and we sometimes had to cut
trees to make bunkers.  We had to make two trips per day.  We
started at 7 a.m. and returned from the first trip at about
midday.  Then we got no food.  We rested a short while and did
the trip again, then had a meal in the evening.  We couldn't even
get enough rice.  In the morning the soldiers had tea to drink,
and they had [meat] curry and money to buy things, but if we even
asked for more salt, they beat us.  We couldn't even take a cup
of water without asking permission for it.  The Sergeant in
charge of us was Win Tin.  We were with #118 Battalion, and
sometimes we saw soldiers from #1 Battalion [also in #44
Division].  We had to carry the shells to the top of the hill. 
>From there we could see the river [the Moei River, the Thai
border just beyond Kawmoorah].  Just before the very top of the
hill, the soldiers took the shells from us.  We saw big flashes
[explosions] on the hilltop, and to the side of us, and sometimes
even behind us.

Maung Htun:  At 8 or 9 p.m. the soldiers made their broadcasts
[propaganda over loudspeakers to the Karen troops].  Before
speaking, the soldiers ordered us to be silent, not to talk, not
even to cough.

U Myat Soe:  Sometimes they played songs on cassettes in Karen
language.  Maybe it was Christian music.  They made speeches in
Burmese, sometimes about Jesus Christ.  They said, "Come to God's
side, come to the Lord's side and stay in peace".  They said they
were praying for good health and prosperity for Karen people. 
Sometimes they said, "You are on the wrong side.  Come to the
Lord Buddha's peaceful shelter."  It usually lasted at least 30

We didn't see any soldiers killed in battle [Battalions #1 and #2
have mounted the full scale assaults, not yet #118 Battalion]. 
One soldier died from malaria, and there was also one suicide
because that soldier just couldn't take it any more.  We heard
the other soldiers talking about him.  He was 15 years old. 
It was cold at night [it is cold season, and nightly temperatures
in the hills often drop below 10§ C], and we only had our longyis
[sarongs].  We had to ask for permission to go to the toilet, and
the soldiers guarded us all the time.  We were allowed to bathe
sometimes.  If you get very seriously sick, the soldiers will
call for a medic.  If it's not so serious you must keep working. 
[U Myat Soe then poked his leg with his finger, and the flesh
bounced back very slowly.]  See?  I am suffering jaundice.  But I
got no medicine.  It is very difficult to get a medic.  If the
soldier you ask is in a good mood, you can get one, but if he's
in a bad mood and you ask then you'll be beaten.  Once I told
Sergeant Win Tin about my jaundice, and he just said "I'm not a
doctor, don't talk to me about it".  Some porters got malaria and
were given medicine if the fever was very bad, but usually not. 
Our main problems were constipation, piles and jaundice. 
Maung Htun:  When we got sick it was very difficult to get
treated.  Many people had bad constipation, and maybe piles. 
Blood came out in our faeces.  Out of about 200 porters we were
around, maybe 50 were suffering of this.  If it wasn't serious,
the soldiers did nothing.  Some were very serious and they bled
while they were working, so then they were allowed to rest.  Most
of us tore our longyis so we could use them as a blanket, and
that's all we had at night.  They wouldn't let us make a fire,
because they said the Karen soldiers would see the light by night
or the smoke in the morning.

U Myat Soe:  They beat us like dogs and cows.  To escape from
them is all that matters.  Trying to escape is very difficult. 
One man tried before us, and he was caught and beaten very badly. 
He was bleeding from his nose and shoulders, but after only a few
minutes they made him work again.

Maung Htun:  I hurt my leg when I dropped a bomb I was carrying. 
I saw a lot of beatings.  They beat people regularly, and they
demanded that we be quick when carrying our loads.  If we were 
too slow they beat us.  They beat us with whatever weapon they
saw, whatever was available.  They scolded us using the foulest
dirty language, but they are very young, younger than my youngest
brother.  Around 16, mostly, but even 14-year-olds.  The one who
committed suicide was around 15 years old.  I'm telling the
truth.  They were scolding us, their elders, and some had voices
that hadn't even broken yet.  Little boy soldiers, swearing at
us.  In the morning they would call us "Mother fucker".  We had
done nothing, we were still just sitting in our fence, but they
swore at us like this.

U Myat Soe:  We didn't know when we would be released, but the
soldiers said it would be after they capture Kawmoorah.  I ran
away because they treated us like cattle, so we didn't want to do
the work anymore.  At 2 a.m. I crossed the fence and ran.  I
didn't know where to go.  I could see by the moon that I was
crossing old ricefields.

I was taken as a porter once before, to Wah Lay, and in town I
also had to clean roads and repair them when it was my section's
turn.  In previous years, the permit to stay in Myawaddy cost 5
Kyat per day, but now it costs 45 Kyat for one day.  That's why
we didn't have permits when we were arrested.  Since the SLORC
came in, inflation has been very high, and this has made living
very difficult.  Also, we always have to be afraid of the
Maung Htun:  Yes, we are afraid of their guns because they
usually say "We are the Army and we can do anything", but they
only do things for themselves.  If there's ever a dispute between
a civilian and a soldier the soldier will always win, even if the
civilian is in the right, and that civilian will be sure to spend
at least 3 days in detention.  The SLORC say many good things
about themselves, but they do only bad things.  Between Myawaddy
and Kawkareik they stop vehicles and demand money, 300 Kyat for
each truck and 150 Kyat for a pickup truck.  They threaten to
shoot if they don't get the money.  It's true!  Last year they
shot at one pickup because it didn't stop when they ordered, and
a bullet hit a woman in the leg.  If soldiers beat travellers
along that route and the travellers go tell their commander,
he'll only say "Yes, they beat you because you did something
wrong, so go away".

U Myat Soe:  I don't want to say anything more.  We want to go
back and I don't want trouble with the soldiers, because my
parents are old and I have 6 brothers and sisters, some of whom
are young.  It's very difficult for my family now and I only want
to find a way to get some money.  I must support my younger
brothers and sisters who are still students.

*****************KAREN STATE/KAWTHOOLEI*********************** 
21 February 1995

The Thai army yesterday fired several smoke shells into Burma
after the Burmese army, which has resumed its massive
artillery shelling of the Karen stronghold of Kawmoora after one
week, fired about 40 mortar rounds and anti-personel
shells into Thailand.

Thai authorities in Mae Sot and Bangkok said they believe the
Burmese troops "deliberately" shelled Thailand to try to drive
off about 100 Thai soldiers stationed around Baan Wang Kaew,
opposite the Kawmoora camp, to prevent any military spillovers
and territorial transgression.

The depture of the Thai forces from the area would provide an
opportunity for the Burmese troops to cross the Moei River into
Thailand to launch a rear attack against Kawmoora, which occupies
the land within an oxbow curve on t he west bank of the river.
Thai government and military authorities earlier rejected a 
Burmese request to send their troops across the border to
stage a two-pronged assault on the Karen stronghold.
Border sources said most of the Burmese shells yesaterday
landed deeper inside Thailand, about three to four kilometres
from the border, than previous shots which usually fell within
two kms from the border.

Thai authorities in Mae Sot have not yet ordered the
evacuation of the refugees nor of several Thai villages which are
located within the Burmese shelling range. They said so far no
one has been hurt by the shelling.

Border sources said the Burmese troops began their heavy
shelling and ground assault against Kawmoora, which houses the
101th special unit of the Karen National Union (KNU), at
around 2pm yesterday, but sporadic attacks have taken place since
last week after the Burmese army sent in fresh troops and more
heavy artillery and ammunition.

Sources predicted a renewed massive Burmese assault on
Kawmoora after the Burmese army "had lost face" due to severe
casualities and ammunition losses during its operation early this
month to capture the KNU camp about 14 kms from Mae Sot. The
Burmese army is said to have lost about 60 troops killed, and six
trucks full of wounded soldiers during the offensive. Sources
said they detected the steady Burmese reinforcement of the
Kawmoora frontline during the past week and that on
Saturday at least 10 trucks, fully loaded with 105-mm rockets and
120-mm and 130-mm mortars, were headed towards
Tingannyinaung, the Burmese frontline strategic command. (TN) 

21 February 1995

Burmese junta leader Lt Gen Tin Oo will visit Thailand later this
month as guest of the Thai Army, but his itinerary has yet to be
finalized, Assisitant Army Commander-in-CVhief
Chettha Thanajaro said yesterday.

Chetta said the Army is waiting for a decision from Thai Army
Commander-in-Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich, who is currently
visiting France Wimol returns to Bangkok tomorrow.

The assistant Army commander said Tin Oo's trip is part of "a
normal exchange of visits between acquaintances in order to
strengthen bilateral Malai-arisoon visited Burma recently on
behalf sports match to strengthen bilateral relations.

He said Tin Oo has already accepted the invition to visit
Thailand on behalf of Burmese Army Commander in Chief Gen
Maung Aye. Government officials said earlier that Tin Oo had
postponed his visit from mid-February to the end of the month.
Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi made an
unexpected decision to postpone his visit to Burma
"indefinitely" after Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai suggested he
wait until the appointment of new foreign minister Krasae
Chanawong becomes official. It was orginally planned for later
this month.

But government officials sid the postponement could have been
motivated by border ternsions stemming from the Burmese
military offensive against ethnic Karen guerrillas. Apart from
the influx of more than 10,000 Karen refugees onto Thai soil,
armed Burmese troops and Karen guerrilla defectors have
repeatedly sneaked across the border, and one foray abducted a
top Karen leader from a Thai refugee camp.

Another Burmese junta leader, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, who was to make
an official visit here this month, had earlier postponed his
trip, citing the change in Thai foreign ministers.
Chettna said Burmese military operations in their own country are
an internal affair.

"It is a [Burmese] problem, but if we can help end fighting, we
are ready," he said. (TN)

16 February 1995

Burma has threatened to shell Thai troops if they are not
removed from an area opposite Kawmoora camp where Rangoon
soldiers are fighting Karen National Union rebels.
The warning was made in a letter from the local Burmese-Thai
Border Committee, chaired by Lt-Col Than Soe to Thai members
of the committee.

Third Army Region commander Surachet Dechatiwong confirmed
that Thai authorities had received the letter.
But he said Thailand did not need to respond to the warning as
Thai troops were taking position on their own soil.
Burmese soldiers are reportedly attempting to seize the last
of the KNU's stronghold beyond the Myawaddy-Kawkareik route
by entering Thai soil to launch attacks from the rear.
Lt-Gen Surachet, meanwhile, accompanied Australian Chief of
General Staff Lt-Gen John Grey during a visit to the Thai
border to see the situation and construction of the
Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge across the Moei River. (BP)

16 February 1995

Thailand yesterday issued a stern warning to Burma over last
week's  abduction of karen guerrilla leaders from a refugee
camp in Tak province and threatened to retaliate if there are
any more incursions into Thai territory.

Burmese Ambassador U Tin Win was yesterday summoned to the
Foreign Ministry and told by acting minister Surin Phitsuwan
that the government considers the kidnapping "unacceptable"
and a violation of Thai sovereignty.

The warning comes amid signs of increasing defiance by Burmese
troops based along the border, some of whom have threatened 
to fire into Thailand territory  if Thailand does not prevent
Karen units from moving back and forth cross the border.
Surin said Thailand was ready to do  whatever it could do help
end the conflict between the Burmese junta -Slorc - and the
karen National Union (KNU), but both sides would first need to
contact the government and indicated what kind of assistance
Thailand can provide.

"Thailand does not want this violation of its territory to
affect bilateral ties but we will not stand idly by if other
incursions occur," Surin warned.

"Burma should not [do anything to] destroy the good 
atmosphere that is developing between Asean and itself," he

Surin's summons to the Burmese envoy was in reaction to the
abduction last Thursday of three karen guerrilla leaders from
a refugee camp at Baan Bae kraw in Tak's Tha Song Yang
district. The three were picked up by members of a karen
splinter group - the Democratic kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA) -
who illegally crossed the Moei river into Thailand.
The DKBA broke away from the Karen National Union (KNU) last
December and has since allied itself with the Slorc.
"The refugees were forced to flee to Thailand by the internal
wars [in Burma]. We didn't invite them to come here but we
have a duty to ensure their safety until such time as the
situation in their homeland returns to normal," Surin told
reporters yesterday.

He said the government considers the Burmese violation of
Thailand sovereignty as "a very serious action' but we wait
and see what effect its warning has on the Rangoon forces
before deciding what further measures will be necessary to
protect this country's territorial integrity.

"Thailand is ready to use all possible means to help get talks
started between Burma's military junta and the Karen as soon
as possible," he said.

There has, so far, been no change in a decision taken by the 
six Asean countries to invite Burma to attend the forthcoming
Asean foreign ministers meeting, Surin said, but warned that
the Slorc should not do anything to  jeopardize "the good
atmosphere" that resulted from its  attendance at last year's
meeting  in Bangkok.

Surin told reporters that over the past week, authorities in
Bangkok and Rangoon have exchanged  about 20 letters on the
border situation, with Thailand protesting incursions by
Burmese troops and the arrival here of over 10,000 Karen refu-
gees who fled across the border after the Burmese captured KNU
headquarters at Manerplaw, opposite Tha Song Yang district in

Meanwhile, the Slorc has accused Thailand of assisting the KNU
and of obstructing its military operations against the KNU's
last remaining stronghold at Kawmoora, opposite Mae Sot dis-
trict and threatened retaliatory action.

"The [Burmese] threat to retaliate by suspending construction
of the Thai-Burmese bridge is only one interpretation of the
letters. The Burmese ambassador has assured me that is not in
fact the policy of his government," Surin said.

Thai Army officers in Mae Sot said they had received five let-
ters on Tuesday from a Burmese official at the Thai-Burmese
coordination unit in Myawaddy. The letters, signed by Lt Col
Than Zaw, commander of the Burmese 356th Light Infantry Bat-
talion, protested what they termed "Thailand assistance" to
Karen guerrillas at Kawmoora and threatened to retaliate by
sealing the border until Burmese troops had overrun the karen

The letters urged Thailand to cease all "support" for the KNU
and to stop KNU troops from moving back and forth cross the
border. They also urged Thailand to withdraw all its weaponry,
troops, rangers and border patrol police from Baan Wang Kaew
and surrounding areas so that Rangoon could launch an all-out
attack on Kawmoora.

"If it [the assistance] continues, we [Burmese] will have to
seal the border until we capture Kawmoora.... and if they [KNU
troops] are still permitted to move freely in Thailand, we
will have to keep firing on to Thai soil. We will return fire
immediately if the Thai military shell us," one of the letters

The Thai officers said Rangoon had sent three more battalions
and 40 heavy guns to replace and strengthen the estimated
3,000 troops currently engaged in the attack on kawmoora. Bur-
mese units have been suffering heavy casualties over the last
week in a massive, but still fruitless, operation to capture
the KNU stronghold.

In Mae Hong Son province, Thai rangers on Saturday sent a note
to the DKBA leader and Buddhist monk urging him to stop his
men from crossing the Moei River and harassing Karen fugitives
in Thai refugee camps. "We will take severe retaliatory action
if these territorial violations do not cease," the note read
in part.

U Thuzana sent a reply asking the Thai authorities to arrest
any of his men caught crossing the border illegally and hand
them over to him. He urged Thai officials to stop assisting
Christian soldiers in the KNU and to expel them from Thailand.
After the border incursions in Mae Hong Son over the past
week, the Army has reinforced units along the border and
stepped up security for the estimated 6,000 refugees who have
decided to move five kilometres deeper into Thailand to avoid
more harassment by the DKBA. (TN)

February 22, 1995

Lt. Col. Than Zaw, commander of the Burmese 356th Light Infantry
Battalion, who is quoted in the article above is in part, a
product of American military training.  The good colonel attended
parachute training school at Ft. Bragg, N.C. in the summer of
1984 under the U.S. Army's International Military and Education
Training Program (IMET).  The point of IMET aid is to build
friendly relationships with Third-World officers in hopes that
they will become pro-American.  An argument often advanced by
defenders of IMET is that bringing these soldiers to the U.S.
will somehow allow a regard for democratic governance and human
rights to rub off on them.  Opposition to IMET aid for certain
countries, Thailand included, has grown up because of the anti-
democratic or inhumane bahavior of their militaries.

Lt. Col. Than Zaw is an text-book example of why there is
opposition to IMET.  He is part of a military that has routinely
used forced porters for decades and with command responsibility
for the 356th LIB, he is personally linked to the use of forced
labor and other abuses in the Myawadi area.  About the only thing
that seems to have rubbed off during his stay in the United
States is the ability to jump into the areas where he dragoons
forced laborers.

The IMET program for Burma is now ancient history, but
unfortunately the one for Thailand is not.  It was briefly under
threat last November when the Congress attempted to punish the
Thai Army for supporting the Khmer Rouge and repressing the
Burmese pro-democracy movement in exile.  In the FY95 Foreign
Operations Act, Congress mandated that the State Department
produce a report on Thai support for the Khmer Rouge and on "the
Thai government's efforts to impede support for Burmese democracy
advocates, exiles, and refugees."  

The Clinton administration never took the latter issue seriously
and in February 1995, the State Department dutifully produced a
report certifying that Thailand was not impeding support.  This
despite the fact that refugees were regularly being turned away
along the border with the Shan State, that arrests and
harrassment of Burmese exiles in Thailand went on unabated.

The central problem, which the U.S. government refuses to see, is
that Thai policy is driven by National Security Council Chief
Charan Kullawanij and his policy is driven by greed.  More than
two years ago, Charan's unofficial businessman-cum-deputy Xuwicha
Hiranyaprueck began talking of the Thai government's plan for
Burma.  That plan, calling for among other things, propping up
the SLORC and eliminating the ethnic groups as a political and
military force, has been implemented with scarcely any deviation.
Xuwicha, a man of energy and immodesty in equal measures, is
nonetheless, no more than Charan's gofer.

There are differences of opinion within the Thai government about
Burma, with not a few who believe "Constructive Engagement" to be
contrary to Thailand's long-term interests.  The reality however,
is that outside Bangkok, the military and the National Security
Council (NSC) run Thai foreign policy--and Charan runs the NSC.

Charan's policy is reflexively anti-western and anti-American in
particular.  He's seeking an "Asian solution" to Burma's problems
and that solution includes keeping a military regime in Rangoon. 
Deputy Foreign Minister's crocodile tears notwithstanding, Thai
policy throughout the current fighting has been to consistently
support the SLORC.

Even when Burmese troops were across the Salween at Manerplaw,
the SLORC in Rangoon was denying to foreign diplomats that any
fighting was taking place along the border.  It is no coincidence
that Charan was saying the same thing in Bangkok.  And while
Surin was issuing public protestations about Burmese shells
landing in Thailand, 300 senior officers from the Thai Army War
College were hosting a private dinner in Mae Sot for the Burmese
army commander in charge of the Kawmoora operation (February 10
at the Mae Sod Hill hotel).  Presumably, the Thai officers were
not honoring the SLORC commander's military acumen as his idea of
a good strategy two days before was to drug his soldiers and
order them to stumble into a frontal assault.

16 February 1995

NOTHING is wrong with Thailand's constructive engagement
policy towards Burma because it supports humanitarianism and
democracy in that country, National Security Council Secretary
General Charan Kullavanijaya said yesterday.

"We have already told Burma to be 'constructive'_to stop
killing, to adopt a humanitarian stand and to become
democratic. If things go like that, is there something wrong
with the policy that needs to be adjusted?" Gen Charan said.

He was responding to criticism by House Committee for Foreign
Affairs chairman Suthin Noppaket and some accdemics that it
many not be appropriate for Thailand to implement the
constructive engagement policy towards Rangoon following the
Burmese army's offensive against karen Natyional Union rebels
over the past few weeks.

Gen Charan said it is necessary for Thailand to look at its
own position when considering any moves concerning Burma.
"Think who we are. We are only their neighbour. What can we
do? Tell Burma not to fight? We have already done so," he

Gen Charan said Thailand does not want to see war, salughter
and persecution in Burma, but turning its back on that country
is not possible.

"Who are to make Burma something we want it to be? Are we
their master? We are just Burma's neighbour. Can we order
them? If we can't, is that reason enough to turn our back or
isolate that country?

He also warned critics of constructive engagement not to just
repeat negative comments made by other countries about Burma.
"Don't we want Burma to be democrstic, act humanely and do
other nice things? Of course, we want them to do so," he said.
"The word 'constructive' is already clear in itself that it is
not about destruction. Speaking, however, can sometimes have
destructive results."

Gen Charan said the NSC is open to all comments and critism
about the constructive engagement policy towards Burma but
adjustments to that policy by itself may not be possible .
The NSC alone did not raft that policy and  thus has no
authority to make changes, he said.

According to gen Charan, the constructive engagement policy
was designed by the national Security Council Committee
chaired by the Prime Minister. The policy has been handled by
the Cabinet, not his agency.

He said he could not speak for Burma on how sincere it was in
solving its internal problems, and insisted it would not be
easy for government to rule a country, particularly at
suggestions of other nations.

To judge the Burmese Government, one should see whether it has
already worked to promote democracy or prosperity among its

"But a country cannot become democratic overnight.  Releasing
Aung San Suu Kyi would help make it become democratic but no
significant progress could be expected overnight," Gen Charan

Calls by international organisations for Thailand to boycott
Burma must also be throughly considered as to whether such a
thing would really benefit the Burmese people, he said.
Gen Charan declined to comment on whether Mr Suthin's
criticism of the policy towards Burma was designed to show he
was up-to-date on foreign affairs after losing out to Karasae
Chanawong in the race for the post of foreign minister

Dr Krasae, also PDP MP for Bangkok, was selected by the party
to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Thaksin
Shinawatra. Mr Suthin happens to be his close rival.
Gen Charan said that as a PDP MP, Mr Suthin could do his duty
by proposing to the Government which policy should be adjusted
which would work better than speaking through the media.
He said Thai authorities have been checking reports that a
group of Karen guerrillas of the newly-formed Democratic Kayin
(Karen) Buddhist Army (DKBA) last week intruded four
kilometres into Thailand and kidnapped a senior official of
the karen National Union from a refugee camp.

Gen Charan, however, said it might be possible that those
Karens were part of the same faction. Those who crossed the
border into Thailand might have wanted to persuade the ones
who took refuge in Thailand to return home.

He conceded that Thailand's humanitarian assistance given to
Karen refugees fleeing the fighting in Burma had somehow
caused a conflict between the two countries. (BP)

21 February 1995

The news entitled "Surin blasts Burma for abducting Karen" (The
Nation, Feb 16), painted in gloomy tone, may cause
misunderstanding among readers. The title it self and the
usage of the terms in the  report are rather deplorable and

The fact is that the Burmese ambassador was not "summoned" to the
Saranrom Palace on Feb 15 by acting foreign Minister Dr Surin to
be "served a stern warning" as reported in that news. The Burmese
ambassador did visit the Sananrom Palace to hold business
discussions with Thai businessmen and the acting
foreign minister. The meeting was arranged by Dr Surin.

However, at one point, during the course of the discussion, the
businessmen left the meeting for a while and during the interval,
the acting foreign minister raised in a cordial
manner the issue of the so-called abduction of Pado Mahn Yang
Sein from a refugee camp in Tha Song Yang District by armed
members of DKBA and subsequently on the recent newspaper
reports on the exchange of letters and contents therein
between the local commanders of Mae Sot and Myawaddy.

In his response, the Burmese ambassador explained that the
abduction of Pado Mahn Yin Sein by DKBA was not an action
backed by the Government. The Government could neither control
nor restrict the activities of the DKBA since the DKBO has not
yet officially come to the legal fold.

In connection with the reply of the Burmese local commander to
the Thai local commander, the ambassador stated that it did not
reflect the government's views. It was rather the reaction by the
local Burmese commander to his Thai counterpart.

The embassy feels confident that despite the distorted
reporting by certain newspapers the existing friendly
relations between the two countries would in no way be

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar 
Bangkok   (TN)

****************VISIT MYANMAR YEAR 1996************************
16 February 1995

Burmese tourism authorities have approved the opening of the
country's first partially Western-owned tour operator,
effective February 24.

The company, insight Myanmar Tourism, is a 60% Swiss, 40%
Burmese joint venture to be headed by Armin Schoch, a former
Diethelm Travel executive who moved to Rangoon late last year.
Mr Schoch, the main shareholder, will be assisted by general
manager Lilli Saxer, a former managing director of Dietthelm
Travel Cambodia and also a shareholder in Insight Myanmar.
In an interview last week, Mr Choch said the opening of
Insight Myanmar concides with the country's preparations for
Visit Myanmar Year 1996.

To stage a successful Visit Myanmar Year, he said, the country
must open new tourist destinations. For several months he has
been scouting Burma in search of new tour products that will
focous on the country's cultural and ethnic richness,
wildlife, festivals and arts and crafts.

"We intend to work very closely with the Ministry of Hotels
Tourism in establishing a much stronger presence for Burma in
the international tourism market," he said.  

Mr Schoch has beaten out several other Thai-and
Singapore-based tour operators who are also seeking joint
ventures but who currently are forced to use local Burmese
operators to handle their tours.

While declining to discuss financial ot other aspects of his
company, Mr Schoch said he projects a big increase in business
from wholesalers in Europe, North America and Australia. He
expects his first brochure tobe out a few months after the
official opening.

He noted that Burma would be able to hold its own against
Indochinese destinations such as Vietnam, and that a hugh
increase in air links and hotel capacity in Burma persages a
tourism boom over th next few years. (BP)


Rangoon- A six members US anti-narcotics team has travelled to
areas of the so-called "Golden Triangle" in Burma to determine
how much opium is being produced there, a state-owned
newspaper said yesterday.

The team from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, led by
Susan Bromley, was accompained by US Embassy and Burmese
government officials.

The joint team, which departed Rangoon for northeastern Burma, is
to carry out field surveys of illicit opium fields in the
Kengtung and Lashio areas.

A similar study was conducted in Feb. 1993 in opium-growing areas
of northern Burma bordering China and eastern Burma
bordering Thailand. (TN)

**********************MON STATE*********************************  
MNEC: EDUCATION  SITUATION  IN  MONLAND                         
February, 1995

Mon National Education Committee


        Since  1972,  the  New  Mon  State  Party's  Education
Department started its operations in the field of education in
Monland.  Prior to this, there were some Mon National Schools
which operated on the Mon community basis. At present it we
classify the schools in Monland into categories we will find that
there are three categorise of then. They are: (1) Mon National
Schools which educate their students only in Mon language except
Burmese and English as their optional subjects (2) Government
recognised schools in which Government's teachers teach half time
and the community teachers take half of the teaching period (3)
Government schools in which all subjects taught according to the
Government curriculum except one period for Mon language.
        In Tavoy, Moulmein and Tha-ton districts there are 270
such schools. Out of which 8 are middle schools and the remaining
262 are primary schools. There are a total 42,903 students and
640 teachers in all of these schools.


        In July 1994, the SLORC entered Kalockhanee Mon refugee
camp and burnt down one hundred household. The SLORC commander of
that operation was Maj Ohn Myint whose regiment locate at Mudon.
In the same time there was a meeting of Mon Teachers Association
in Kalotthot village in Mudon Township. After that meeting, the
SLORC township official banned the teaching of Mon Language in
through out the schools in Mudon township.         In December
1994, after the cease-fire talks between the NMSP and SLORC broke
down, the concerning SLORC authorities stopped the teaching of
Mon language in schools of Kyeikmaraw township, Tha-ton district.
The same sequence occurred in schools of Thanbyuzayat township.   
     Seeing the SLORC's above mentioned activities it is quite
clear that they are bend on exploiting the ethnic languages,
cultures and traditions. In the prevailing situation, we believe
that the cooperation of different NGOs and joints effort of Mon
National Education Committee is only alternative to save and
promote the national education system of Monland.
        The Mon National Education Committee solicit any
assistards Mon National  Education with high regards and

                        Mon National Education Committee.

21 February 1995 

The departure of China's leader Deng Xiaoping will not pose an
obstacle to the further development of Yunnan and border-
linked neighbours, Prime Minister's Office Minister Savit
Bhotiwigok said.

Speaking at the opening of the Board of investment-sponsored
Greater Mekong Subregional Development workshops yesterday, he
said the China, like many countries in the region, is moving
towards a market-oriented economy.

"It is believed that the current investment policy in China will
be kept intact and so will the belief that Yunnan has to sustain
links with the other countries," the minister noted. Yunnan is a
member of the so called Quadrangle, a loose
investment and trade cooperation arrangement between the
southern Chinese province and countries in the Mekong area. The
other members of the group are Laos, Burma and Thailand. The five
days of workshops began yesterday. On the first day the focus was
the investment policies of the Lao People's
Democratic Republic.

Leuane S]ombounkhan, vice chairman of the Lao Committee for
Planning and Cooperation, was present at the event. Workshops on
Burma, Cambodia, Yunnan and Vietnam will be held
respectively in following days.

Savit said that the workshop mark a beginning for the six
nations in discussing cooperation plans in the wake of
increasing cross-border activity among the countries.

"Thailand has played a major role in these cooperation areas
through both private and public sectors. And the government
promises to continue the cooperation programmes," he remarked.
Thailand, for example, has forged major projects with Laos. Last
year, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with
that country to purchase 1,500 megawatts of electricity. There is
potential in other areas with other nations under the subregional
scheme, said Savit who added that despite rapid changes in their
political conditions, the countries are heading towards the same
goal - developing a system which is internationally accepted and
provides a favourable investment environment to foreign
investors. (TN)

21 February 1995

Australia Foreign Minister Gareth Evans yesterday called on the
international community to send a "very strong message" to Burma
and to refrain from giving "rewards" to the Slorc.
He expressed disappointment over the Slorc's recent military
offensive against ethnic Karens and proposed that the
situation in Burma be discussed at this year's ASEAN Regional
Forum to be held in Brunei in July.

Senator Evans made the comments after emerging from a one-hour
meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan during a
one-day stopover in Thailand yesterday.

He flew in from Kuala Lumpur and left for Jakarta last night.
Senator Evans claimed his proposal was supporter but Brunai and
Malaysia. "It seem to be a general agreement from the
countries I have visited."

He said ongoing fighting between Burmese forces and the Karen
resistance  would effect regional stability.
The situation in Burma was disappointing after Burmese Foreign
Minister Ohn Gyaw attended the annual meeting of foreign
ministers of the Association of southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) last July in Bangkok.

"My concern is that the Slorc regime continues to get strong,
consistent messages from the international community and
particular its neighbours, about the unacceptability of this (the
military offensive)," said Evans.

Signs of improvement could be seen in Burma when its foreign
minister came to the last ASEAN meeting as a guest of Thailand
and when the 

Slorc held a series of talks with dissident leader Aung San Suu

"But the good signs are stopped by the fighting with the
Karens," said Evans.

The Australia minister called on countries to carefully review
progress in Burma before engaging in detailed discussions at the
forthcoming ARF.

He also urged the international community to stop rewarding the
Slorc until it improves its human rights record, moves towards
democracy, and releases its opposition leader.

ASEAN is able to reward Burma by granting membership to the
association and "all of this has a symbolic impact in terms of
acceptance," he said.

He said policy towards Burma should be reviewed in July unless
Burma releases Aung San Suu Kyi. Senator Evans invited his Thai
counterpart-designate Dr Krasae Chanawong to pay an official
visit to Australia.

He extended the invitation during an "informal dinner" with Dr
Krasae at a Bangkok hotel after which Dr Krasae said the two had
"very friendly talks."

Senator Evans promised not to criticise Thailand on the Khmer
Rouge issue, like in the past. (BP)

21 February 1995

The Asian Forum on Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asian)
yesterday condemned Slorc's recent military offensive against the
Karens and called for an immediate ceasefire and the con-
ditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition

Forum-Asia, a network of human rights organisations in Asia, also
called on the Slorc to fulfil its obligations under
international conventions on human rights and to restore peace
and genuine democracy in Burma.

"The recent military operation against the Karen opposition is a
clear step backwards for the peace process and national
reconciliation in Burma," said a statement issued by the group

"This operation comes at a time with the Slorc regime is
increasingly under pressure from the international community and
the United Nations to democratic the country  and restore power
to the duly-elected representatives of the people.
"In its effort to brutally suppress any opposition to its
rule, the Slorc government has continued to violate a number of
international conventions on human rights." (BP)

soc.culture.burma        3:08 AM  Feb 18, 1995

Does anyone in the newsgroup have any information about arms
deals between SLORC and Portugal over the last few years?  There
is a woman at UW who is interested in any information concerning
Portugese weapons sales.


       Burma Action Group
        University of Washington    

 Bt.: THAI BAHT; 25 Bt.3 DUS$1 (APPROX),
                   106 KYAT US$1-SEMI-OFFICIAL
                   6 KYAT-US$1 OFFICIAL