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News #163 (part 1)

-------------------------- BurmaNet --------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: May 4 1995, Wednesday
Issue #163



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1.5.95/The Nation 

MAETAWAW, Burma - Renegade Buddhist Karen who have launched
repeated raids on Karen refugee camps in Tak and Mae Hong Sond
Provinces have threatened more violence unless Thailand forces
more than 70,000 refugees back into Burma.

Leaders of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army [DKBA], which broke
away from the 47 year old Karen National Union [KNU] in
December , said yesterday they expecred all the refugees to
return to Burma, either Volunation or by force , before the
start of the rainy season.

The DKBA threat came as the Army began reinforcing the 250
kilometre stretch of the Thai - Burmese border with soldiers,
paratroops and border patrol police and heavy equipment
including helicopter gunships, jeeps with mounted machine guns
, and recoiless rifles.

The Army has been harshly criticized over the past week for
failing to stop the repeated violations of Thai sovereignty ,
which have been occurring since February . 

The successive attacks prompted KNU leader Gen Bo Mya to make
an urgent appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for
emergency measures to protect and assist the frightened
refugees, many of them homeless and forced to hide in the Thai
jungle . 
The DKBA , which is politically and military supported by the
Burmese junta, claimed responsibility for the attacks and
destruction of about 10 border refugee camps. 

In their first public exposure since the inception of the
group , six DKBA leaders including a Buddhist Monk , U Yanika,
told The Nation on Saturday at their Maetamaw base that the
violence was intended to forces the refugee to return to Burma.

They said they had approached Thai security forces in Tha Song
Yang district, where most of the 30 refugee camps are located,
to hold talks whth them yesterday about pushing the refugees
off Thai soil.

However , Tha Song Yang authorities said yesterday that they
did not show up for the talks . 

During the interview Captain Tu Na , 46, speaking fluent Thai,
admitted that several hundred DKBA fighters had attacked and
set fire to a number of refugee camps in Thailand .

He said the refugees' continued presence in Thailand could
create misunderstanding between the DKBA and Thailand.

The group also accepted responsibility for the violence and
destruction at Baw Naw , a camp of about 7,000 people , last
Friday in which 800 houses were burned down, an 18 year old
Karen woman killed and four others wounded, including a young
girl . A total of 800 fighters were involved, they said .

They also admitted they had burned down a Thai police post and
said they had captured an Army sergeant, Thawatchai Wanind,
and taken him to Burma for questioning about why the Christian
-led KNU forces had beebn allowed to remain on Thai soil. He
was released about 4 pm the same day, they said. 

Maetawaw commander Lt Gen Tho Hlaing, who was also present at
the interview, led the attack on Baw Naw . 

Thai security forces have given the intruders until today to
return two 11 mm pistls,  walkie- talkies and other equipment
they stole from the brunt sentry post, or face retaliatory

Army Commander in Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich on Saturday
warned that the Army would take harsh measures, which he
declined to reveal, against any future intruders. 

The assault on Baw Naw and four other camps on Friday took
place only one day after Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai gave the
DKBA that security forces would retaliate harshly if the
incursions continued.

Yesterday, two helicopter gunships flew to Tha Song Yang
village where three uniden dified intruders armed with M 16
and AK 47 assault rifles had arrived in a pickup they hijected
from the Baw Naw area .

Tha Song Yang is about 25 KM north of Baw Naw . The intruders
, two in plain clothes and one and green army fatigues , fled
when border patrol police, alerted by the pickup owner ,
Somkid Kheunmeechar, arrived .

Task Force 34 , which is responsible for the long stretch of
frontier , immediately despatched Army reinforcements mounted
on jeeps an with artillery to the scene .

During the interview , Tu Na said DKBA forces would continue
to cross the Moei River in to Thailand to raid and set fire to
the remaining refugee camps unless the resident whether
Buddhist or Christan , returned  to Burma .

" We [DKBA] have attacked and razed the camps . If we did't do
so , Then the refugees would not return home . Their presence
in Thailand could create alot of problems for us . If there
are robberies in Thailand , then we could be blamed," he said. 
" We want all of them to come back. All will have to
return...If Thai authorities don't intervene , we expect to
get all of them back before the onset of the rainy season "
 .Tu Na claimed the DKBA had 8-9000 well-armed fighters .

The DKBA's targets were the Karen refugees and not Thai people
or Thai security forces . He said the DKBA's forces had always
avoided Thai people when operating in Thailand .

He said Sgt Thawatchai had been taken captive on Friday
morning because he was guarding the refugees.

Thai forces at Tha Song Yang said the DKBA often urged them to
retreat from their positions so that they could transgress
into Thailand and easily attack the refugee camps . 

Asked if they knew that their violent actions were considered
violations of Thai sovereignty , Tu Na said, " we did not know
about it . we believe it is not harmful . we are the same
Karen people. How come the [ KNU] Christians can do it . They
drive around inside Thailand and they also carry arms .We only
burnt  down Karen houses "

1.5.95/The Nation 

The construction of the Burmese Yadana gas pipeline is set to
start after the next monsoon season to meet the planned 1998
deadline , and there was no problem with security over the
peoject , a western diplomat said in Rangoon recently . 

The European diplomat, who asked not to be named , though ,
did admit that there had been no fundamental improvement in
Burma's human rights since 1988, but added that did not
constitute criteria for the private sector doing business in
Burma .

Earlier , the Karen and Mon ethnic groups in the area urged
the companies to wait until peace and democracy was restored
in Burma before implementing the project . Yet, the diplomat
said neither Thailand nor Burma would delay construction
because their own vested interests were more imprtant .

"It's economically a sound project. Thailand is going to pay
for the gas. Thailand needs the gas. This is a very important
project, one of the biggest projects they [the pipeline
project consortium ] have attempted ," the diplomet said .

In February ,Burma signed an agreement with Thailand to supply
natural gas from the Yadana offshore gas field in the Martaban
Gulf to Ratchaburi power plant in 1988. France -based Total
and US-based Unocal , are the major developers who hold a
36.75 per cent and 32.25 cent share resprctively . 

The diplomat told The Nation that fighting in the area, which
often occurs in the dry season when the gas pipeline is to be
laid , is not an obstacle .

Every dry season there have been some skirmishes , but no
major battles. In the past the Burmese government used to
startoffensive , but they have suspended such programmes since
1992, " he said.

" What happened in February was different . There was a split
inthe Karen army." He said those developing the project has
taken all the necessary security precautions to ensure its
safety, but refused to disclose any information.

" All these people [Total and Unocal engineers ] are
specialized in working on this type of project. They take into
account all possible problems that could arise . They don't
underestimate any threats ," he said .

The diplomat said that other such pipelines which pass though
highly sensitive security areas are safely operational.

" Of course , security is a concern. But many pipelines in the
world , including those in Iraq, Turkey, Angola, Columbia ,
had orerated normally, " he said .

The diplomat said although the European Union [EU] has cut
economic aid to the Burmese military government since 1988,
after the brutal crackdown against prodemocracy supporters,
the policy does not apply to private European companies.

" Private companies can do what they like , there is no trade
embargo is, however , seldom effective in Burma's case.

" Nobody has put an economic embargo on Burma . Even if the EU
launched one , the Burmese government would look elsewhere ,
to countries that didn't join such an embargo ," he noted . 

" If we were to do business concerned only with human rights
we would have to close down a lot of established projects in
countries whose human rights records were worse than here, "
the diplomat said. 

He said the resumption of economic assistance to Burma was
based on further establishing a democratic process and
improving human rights, as well as offering good financial
plans for repayment of debts.

The diplomat also denied that five Burmese working on the
project were killed at the work camp. He said the incident
took place eight kilometers away and nobody has so far claimed
responsibility . 

last week , Brig Gen David Abel, Burma's Minister of National
Planning and Economic Development , said the workers were
killed when a guerrilla group attacked the project's base camp
The diplomat said there was no major obstacle for the
construction except the geographical conditions of the area. 
" I don't think the area the pipeline is to run through is
easy country side to work in. The area is just mountains and
jungle ," he said.

Concerning the environmental problems that could affect the
area, he noted :" They don't need to cut down a lot of the
forest . The pipeline is not very big .Total will be very

This gas project is very improtant .It is one of the biggest
project the country has undertaken . You must remember that
practically all the major companies in this field bid for the
project in 1992 ," he said .

The Asian Development Bank [ADB], last week , hailed the
Yadana gas project as an excellent example of sub- regional
cooperation.  The ADB is interested in funding the pipeline
from the Thai- Burmeese border to the power plant in

" If we are requested to put in our money, I think we should .
This is basically a commercial project," Noritada Morita,
ADB's director of Programme Department [ West] , told The

1.5.1995/Bangkok Post 

President of the Karen National Union Bo Mya has appealed to
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees whose camps in Thailand
have been attacked and burned . 

A letter from Bo Mya said more than 7,500 people have been
made homeless by the attacks ,said the letter , a copy of
which was given to The Associated Press.

" The refugees have to face many hardships relating to food ,
clothing and shelter ," the letter said . It asked the UNHCR
take emergency measures to give the refugees official
protection and assistance.

In the latest attack, troops loyal to the Burmese government
on Friday attacked and burned a Karen refugee camp and forced
as many as 4,000 people back into Burma, a Thai Army spokesman
said.  The kidnappings were not confirmed by other sources.

One woman was killed and another five refugees were injured in
the attack, said other military and police sources .

The attackers joined collaborators inside the Baw Naw camp who
set fire to about 800 of the 1,000 homes , which housed 6,000
refugees. The camp, in Tak province , is known by a variety of
names according to the language used .

At least three other camps have suffered similar attacks since
April 19.

Bo Mya's letter said other camps were also threatened , an
opinion shared by police and refugee workers at the border . 
The refugees are loyal to the Karen National Union , which has
been battling Burma's central government for greater autonomy
for more than four decades. The raiders are mostly members of
the Democratic Karen Buddhist Organization  the DKBO  a
Buddhist breakaway faction of the KNU whose leadership is
Christian. Witnesses say they have been accompanied by small
groups of heavily armed soldiers in uniforms without insignia,
who are assumed to be Burmese government troops. 

DKBO guerrillas helped Burmese government troops capture the
KNU's border headquarters at Manerplaw in January .

The DKBO wants control of the refugees to deprive the KNU of
its constituency, and lay claim to being the legitimate
representative of the Karen. 

The Thai Foreign Ministry on Friday sent a strong protest to
the Burmese Embassy over the raids, calling them a "violation
of Thailand's sovereignty and territorial integrity" and
promising " appropriate retaliatory action".
Because of the raids, the UNHCR issued a second request on
Thursday for the Thai government to place a permanent
representative on the border, said UNHCR representative in
Bangkok Ruprecht Von Arnim. He also suggested the camps be
consolidated and moved further from the border for the
refugees' protection. 

Von Arnim said that last month, when he first asked Thailand
for permission to station a permanent roving representative on
the border " we told the National Security Council that the
border situation was volatile. Unfortunately our predictions
have come true". 

An NSC spokesman said the agency received the latest letter
form the UNHCR and was considering the request. (AP)


An appeal for help and assistance                       
Yesterday night, there were raids on the residences of the
Burmese refugees in Bangkok. Most of them are refugees already
recognised by UNHCR Bangkok office an d those who have applied
to the UNHCR for refugeeship ( Many of them are NLD an d ABSDF

We would like to appeal all the NGOs and the Embassys here to
provide help and assitance to these people to be freed from
arrest, imprisonment and forced repatriation to Burma. These
people are currently at police stations including that of

 NAME                     AGE       ORG:          SEX 
1. TUN TUN OO            25         NLD-LA         M 
2. TIN SAW               27            "           "  
3. THAUNG TAN CHO        24            "           " 
4. KO KO NAI             28            "           "
5.KYAW NUUNT             25            "           " 
6. MYINT HTAY            28            "           " 
7. BANYAR AUNG           25            "           " 
8. KYAW SOE MOE          25            "           " 
9. MA MYAIN              32         ABSDF          F
10.ZAR NI                23            "           M
11.MAUNG WIN             31            "           " 
12.MA THAN               19            "           F
14.SOE NAI               28            "           M
15.MAR MAR AYE           18            "           F
17.NAI NAI               23            "           M
18.KYU KYU WIN           20            "           F
20.CHIT KO               27            "           M
21.MYA IN (PREGNANT)     21            "           F 
22.SOE CHIT              25            "           M
23.MA THAUNG YIN         19            "           F  (PREGNANT)
24.HLA WIN               38            "           M
25.AUNG NAI SOE          27            "           "
26.AUNG NAI              29            "           " 
27.SOE MYINT             31            "           " 
28.SOE LWIN              29            "           "
29.NGWE HTUN             33            "           " 

Sann Aung


Ninety-seven persons attended the morning session ofThe Burma
Forum at Orange  Coast College and ate lunch on Saturday, 29
April 1995 and 120 persons  attended the afternoon session.  

When recorded speeches are transcribed, I'll ask someone to
put it on the  net.  It was a successful symposium and the
audience overwhelmingly indicated  a repeat a year or two
hence.  But the bones in this old frame are getting  tired and
new and more energetic blood is needed to help him shoulder
the  burden.

U Kyaw Win
Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa, CA 92626 USA 

2.5.95/ The Nation

Mae Sot --- Third Army Region Commander Lt Gen Surachet
Dechatiwong yesterday ordered the immediate transfer back to
his former post in Nakhon Sawan as punishment for his failure
to prevent the repeated border intrusions by Burmese and Karen
troops .

The sudden order surprised Col Direk Yaemangamreap's
subordinates at Task Force 34 in Tak's Mae Sot district , They
suspected that the transfer was prompted by the failure to
deliver accurate information to the Army about territorial

Task Force 34's reports to higher authority in the Third Army
Region often contradicted those of other military and
government agencies , whose information proved to be more

Direk was ordered to leave Mae Sot by 3 pm yesterday . He will
switch posts with Col Sajja Yodpetch, deputy commander of the
Fourth Infantry Regiment in Nakhon Sawan, who will take up
command of Task Force 34.

Direk took the Mae Sot post in November 1994 and had a "
clean" record, as well as being well liked by his colleagues
subordinates, some Task Force officers said .

Mae Sot District Chief Kasem Wattanatham said he sympathized
with Direk over the move as the Army commander was " a good
man who got along well with everybody" .

" If Colonel Direk was transferred because of the border
problems. then it is a sad story. The frontier is several
hundreds Kilometers long of rugged terrain, so any force could
enter Thailand at any point", Kasem said.

Panithi Tangphati, deputy chairman of Tak Chamber of Commerce,
yesterday urged the Army to modernize and improve its border
intelligence gathering, saying that the military has failed
several times to protect border villagers and prevent
territorial violations and robberies.

Even a Thai Army sergeant was kidnapped by the armed Karen
Buddhist forces, he said .

While local officers were unaware of the intrusions, people on
the border often learned about the imminent incursions and
potential attacks on refugee camps a week before the actual
incident occurred, panithi said.

The least raid happened last Friday morning when 500 Karen
intruders attacked Baw Naw refugee camp in Tha Song Yang
district of Tak and burned down 800 houses there . An 18 year
old girl was killed in the fire and several people were
wounded when the armed forces opened fore , forcing about
7,000 frightened refugees to flee into the jungle .

Task Force 34 is responsible for the security along the border
areas from Tak's Tha Song Yang to Umphang district.

2.5.95/The Nation

In blatant defiance of Thai warnings , renegade Buddhist Karen
forces who have launched repeated raids on Karen refugee camps
in Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces have threatened more
incursions unless Thailand forces more than 70,000 refugees
back into Burma. 
The threat is another slap in the face for the Thai Army ,
which has been harshly criticized for failing to prevent
previous incursions by the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army

The DKBA threat came as the Army began reinforcing a 250 km
stretch of the Thai- Burmese border with soldiers, para-troops
border patrol police and heavy equipment , including
helicopter gunships , jeeps with mounted machine guns and
recoilless rifles. 
The DKBA's hit and run operations have been the largest
embarrassment for the Thai Army in years. The latest threat
cannot be ignored because similar DKBA warnings have already
proved to be serious.

This time the Thai Army cannot afford to let the DKBA venture
even one inch into its territory ,so much is at stake this
time - the country's dignity and the fragile honour of the
Army itself . 
Criticism and suspicion have eroded public confidence in the
First the reports of incursions were denied in official Army
press releases. When the reports later proved true , no
decisive action was taken by the Army and raids on the refugee
camps continued.

Is it sheer ignorance or extremely poor intelligence? Or is it
because of " friendly ties " with Rangoon , which allegedly
helped form the DKBA in order to spawn violent ethnic
conflicts?  Whatever it is , it is hurting the Army badly ,
and the only way to recover is to ensure that the aggressors
are kept at bay at all costs .

Over the past two weeks , the government has sounded tough,
while Army Commander in Chief Wimol Wongwanich ironically
turned diplomatic. The Army could hit back with artillery and
mortars, he said , but what if the shells injure innocent
people on the Burmese side?

Wimol changed his tone somewhat over the weekend ." Let them
do it again and they're in for ." he said . That was before
the DKBA displayed its latest defiance on Sunday , telling
reporters raids on the camps will continue until all refugees
return to Burma. 
The Burmese and DKBA war with the Karen National Union has
flooded Thailand with tens of thousands of refugees. The
DKBA's lame reasoning for wanting the refugees back in Burma
is so it cannot be blamed for robberies or violence committed
on the Thai soil.

Source say the Thai Army is being made to taste its own bitter
medicine . The Burmese government formerly accused the Thai
military of giving the KNU safe sanctuary in Thai territory ,
from which hit and run forays against Rangoon forces have been

Thailand has denied such allegations, and Rangoon is doing the
same regarding charges that it backs the DKBA.

But Rangoon's denial may give the Thai Army good opportunity
to eliminate the DKBA for repeated violations of Thai
sovereignty . " Hot pursuit" operations should be one option
if the hit and  run tactics continue.

Wimol has floated the idea of moving the refugees deeper into
Thailand , but the Foreign Ministry has insisted the priority
now should be to ensure there will be no further insults to
the country's sovereignty.`


2.5.95/ The Nation

THE Foreign ministry believes camps for refugees escaping
fighting in Burma are located far enough within Thai
territory, Deputy Foreign Ministry Surin Pitsuwan said

Surin said the main problem facing Thai authorities is how to
prevent repeated, destructive incursions by Burmese forces. 
" We believe the camps for the Burmese are far enough from the
border , but the Foreign Ministry is ready to consult the
military and Interior Ministry on the issue", Surin said.

Army commander-in-Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich has criticized
the Foreign Ministry for disagreeing with the Army's proposal
to move the remaining shelters in Mae Hong Son and Tak
provinces deeper into Thailand.

The idea is to prevent further incursions by Burmese forces
into Thailand, where they have burned down hundreds of
shelters and abducted refugees.

"The problem is that the violations have been repeated. We
must cope with it and stop them," Surin said.

Surin played down reported conflicts between the Army and the
Foreign Ministry over the location of the camps, saying the
ministry has not yet made a decision but is ready to talk with
the authorities concerned to find the best solution.

Responding to a report that the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees wishes to help run the camps, Surin
said as long as Thai authorities cannot guarantee safety for
the Burmese, there will be more requests from the other
organizations, including countries whose citizens are working
in the areas where the camps are located.

"Before moving the camps further from the border, we have to
be sure there is enough space and safety for the refugees, and
we must consider the effects on Thai people already living
there," he said.

Most important is whether the Burmese in the camps will agree
to be relocated and whether they can abide by Thai law, Surin
Foreign Minister Krasae Chanawongse said if he has to choose
between human rights and national security, he would choose
the latter.

In an apparent response to the Army's call for Foreign
Ministry officials to visit the areas where the incursions
have taken place, Kresae scheduled an urgent visit to the
border area for today.

Krasae yesterday visited Gen Wimol at his office for one hour
to discussed the possible relocation of the camps.

The Foreign Minister yesterday also inviter Burmese Ambassador
U Tin Win to a meeting at the Foreign Ministry and later has
dinner with the envoy. Krasae said border problems were
discussed, but he declined to be specific.

Army spokesman Col Phalangkul Klaharn said the meeting was
"very cordial". Wimol reiterated his stance that the best way
to resolve the intrusions and violence is to move all Karen
refugees to one site.

He said Krasae did not oppose Wimol's plan and expressed the
understanding that the camp would not be a permanent one.

Phalangkul said the Army wants people along the border to be
on the watch and inform authorities if they see or hear any 
suspicious activity.



Burma's military junta has been unable to silence the
opposition Catherine Field reports from Rangoon for The

(Reprinted in The Guardian Weekly April 23, 1995)

In Burma little is what it seems.  The military regime
appears to have an unquestioned grip on power.  The
opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is under house arrest,
where she has been since 1989.  A massive offensive against
the Karen rebels in the east has forced them to desert their
stronghold at Manerplaw.

Without Suu Kyi, the opposition National League for
Democracy, which struck fear into the heart of the junta in
1988 with its popular pro-democracy uprising, is leaderless
and divided.  But its members remain brave.

In a discreet show of support some Burmese women are to
mark Suu Kyi's birthday this week by eating only vegetarian
food and making rice offerings to Buddha. In Mandalay,
which has an active underground democracy network, tape
recordings of songs praising Suu Kyi's determination are
traded in student dormitories and street cafes.  And, despite
strict laws forbidding government opponents from talking to
journalists, a few risk prison to meet reporters secretly in
the hope that news of the junta's latest excesses is passed

"Things are happening here that no one would have dared
to imagine at the time Slorc (the State Law and Order
Restoration Council) took over," said an opposition
politician.  "If I were them, I couldn't sleep at night."

Another said: "This is essentially a fascist government.  The
military has never changed their idea that politicians have no
role to play."

There was optimism last year after two highly publicised
meetings between Suu Kyi and top Slorc officials.  But the
gesture -- part of a Slorc campaign to shed its status as an
international pariah -- was empty.  Suu Kyi demanded her
colleagues be allowed to attend any future meetings; the
regime refused.  The Slorc insists that if released she should
shun politics for five years.

Last month the regime seemed to signal a change of heart
by releasing 31 political prisoners, including Tin Oo and Kyi
Maung, the two most prominent opposition figures freed
since April 1992.  But, human rights monitors say,
thousands arrested since 1988, including 26 members of the
1990 parliament-elect, remain in detention.  Only a handful of
the 300 monks held during fierce anti-government rallies in
Mandalay in October 1990 has been released.

The junta's power comes from the secret police, the
Directorate of Defense Services Intelligence, whose
tentacles reach into every aspect of life.  Diplomats estimate
that one in seven Burmese works for the service or is an

"Until 1962 we had a law that meant anyone taken in by
police had to be released within 24 hours or charged," said a
Rangoon University student.  "Now they knock at the door
at night and just take you away, no one knows where or for how

Another Burmese said: "There is real resentment at how this
government is run, particularly towards the arrogance and
brutality of the Burmese army."

Thousands of Burmese civilians are forced to work for the
military, checking for land mines by walking ahead of army
patrols, building bunkers, fetching water and cutting trees. 
The junta claims they are all unemployed labourers who
volunteer rather than sit at home but Human Rights
Watch/Asia says they are all subject to physical abuse and
that many are severely beaten.

Three years of high inflation and six years of military rule
have crippled Burma economically and spiritually.  The
environment is being pillaged by gem miners and logging
firms, and middle-class families are fleeing abroad.  "We are
being left with a population of peasants that will breed
peasants," said a shopkeeper. "The intellectuals are all

In the main cities the retired, who find their state pension
cannot even pay their monthly electricity bill, are forced to
be street vendors.  In the centre of Rangoon, women sit in the
raging heat selling iced water.  Wizened men sell
individual corn plasters or repair umbrellas. If lucky, they
will earn enough in a day to by a bowl of curry or a cup of

Abroad, Slorc seems to have mocked attempts to deny it
trade and diplomatic recognition; it is negotiating a
multi-million dollar dea l with China and a trade agreement
with India is in its final draft.  Japan said last month it was
ready to resume some humanitarian aid.

Most countries have applied an arms embargo, but the
regime has been able to buy weapons, including jet fighters,
worth nearly 1.3 billion pounds from China, at favorable

The junta seems stronger than at any time since it grabbed
power in September 1988, and a new constitution is being
written which enshrines the military's role in governing

The opposition is directionless and split without Suu Kyi.  In
keeping with their Buddhist beliefs, many see dialogue as the
only path.  "Confrontation for confrontation's sake will not
work against Slorc." said an anti-government politician.  "Suu
Kyi will have to allow herself to get into dialogue with
Slorc."  But Suu Kyi, locked away in her family home, does not
agree, and she is the real threat to the junta.

"Slorc's overriding concern is internal security and
stability," said a westerner in Rangoon.  "This overrides any
international pressure and any economic advantages they
could obtain by releasing Suu Kyi."

But Slorc must make a move within months.  Suu Kyi's
sentence expires on July 20.  Last year the junta lengthened
it by a year, declaring the first an arrest period.  "They
cannot hold Suu Kyi past July on any interpretation of the
law, but there is nothing to stop them changing the law or the
offence she is being held under," said a Western

--The Observer.

30 April 1995
Resisting pressure from peers of all parties, the House of
Lords on Friday voted against imposing trade sanctions against
Burma's military junta.
 We do not believe sanctions would be effective without
international support, which we do not judge to be
forthcoming,  Lord Inglewood, the government's spokesman on
foreign affairs, told members of the unelected upper house of
Britain and  its partners in the European Union already have
suspended non-humanitarian aid, imposed an arms embargo, and
severed defense links with Burma's hard-line State Law and
Order Restoration Council.
Summing up a short debate, Inglewood stressed the government's
genuine wish to see democracy, freedom and full respect for
human rights restored  in Burma.
But measures already in place  represent the most realistic
way we can exert pressure for the re-establishment of  those
rights for that tortured country,  he said.
 While we do not wish to offer succor to the regime, we don't
believe isolating it entirely is necessarily going to benefit
the Burmese people. 
He added that the value of Britain's trade with Burma, which
became independent from Britain in 1948, amounted to only 13
million pounds ($20.8 million) in 1994.
Inglewood called the continued house arrest of pro-democracy
leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi
 indefensible and in flagrant contradiction of all principles
of justice.  (BP)

30 April 1995
Crime Suppression Division police raided a restaurant in
Chiang Mai on Friday and found 10 hilltribe women selling sex.
Women were said to be Burmese, Tai Yai and Musso aged between
18 and 20. Police arrested Mrs Wandee Thasi, 26, who allegedly
admitted to be the owner of the restaurant which is only about
500 metres from Chiang Mai police station.
Police seized a list of customers, condoms and cash. (BP)

30 April 1995
Military forces from Burma crossed into Thailand's Tak and Mae
Hong Son provinces. They burned refugee camps, abducted and
killed Karen refugees and touched off political division in
The Army accused newspapers of a lack of patriotism. Prime
Minister Chuan Leekpai ordered the military to retaliate. Mr
Chuan dismissed Rangoon claims they could not control the
invaders and the Foreign Ministry formally protested to Burma.
The Burmese government said it would press ahead with its oil
pipeline despite terrorist attacks on the work. The American
city of Seattle joined efforts urging the Unocal oil company
and others to pull out of Burma until democracy is restored
there. (BP)

30 April 1995
Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich yesterday
insisted he would push for Karen refugees to be relocated in
one central camp deeper inside Thailand in the wake of the
attacks by armed Karen intruders who burned down refugee camps
in Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces last week.
Wimol said the Army would propose the idea to the government
once the Interior Ministry had expressed its support.
 I am preparing to submit a written proposal to the
government. The Interior Ministry fully agrees to the idea but
there seems to be a problem on the part of the Foreign
Ministry,  he said.
Besides the new refugee camps set up after troops of the
Burmese government and a Buddhist Karen splinter group overran
Karen strongholds in Burma recently, about 100 similar
shelters were set up along the border by Karen hold fled
fighting in Burma the past decade, Wimol said.
Many people had criticized the Army for having failed to
protect those shelters from intruders, he said. Although the
camps were located on Thai soil, critics just did not
understand that the Army was unwilling to waste funds and man
hours taking care of the refugees.
One of the best alternatives was to push the Karen refugees
back to Burma. Another was to put them inside a central
refugees camp. The Army could not opt for repatriation because
it would be denounced by foreign countries as lacking
humanity, he said.
In Tak province, Governor Kasem Nakkharat yesterday said Sgt
Thawatchai Wanond, a Thai soldier who was captured and taken
across the border into Burma by Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
(DKBA) troops who attacked the Baw Naw camp in Tak's Tha Song
Yang district on Friday, was freed unharmed yesterday.
The camp was one of the five attacked and burned down by the
intruding Karen troops in the northern border district on
Kasem said provincial officials had already discussed with the
Third Army Region and local Army commanders the possibility of
relocating the Karen refugees at one central camp. (TN)

30 April 1995

More than 4.500 people were left homeless when fire swept
through a neighbourhood in the central Burma town of Pegu, the
state media reported yesterday.
Firefighters supported by 30 fire engines battled the blaze
for five hours before they were able to put it our, the media
A total of 745 houses were destroyed and 4,558 people left
homeless in the fire on Thursday. The reports did not say how
the fire started in the town 70 kilometres northeast of Ran-
goon, nor were there any reports of deaths or injuries. (TN) 

30 April 1995 

A tough new law to enforce discipline among Burma's police was
announced yesterday by the country's military rulers.
The law invests the police director-general with powers to
dismiss, retire, demote or take any other action against any
police officer who violates its provisions.
Offences specified include drunkenness, desertion, insubordi-
nation, moonlighting or failure to act on a criminal
complaint. (TN)

29 April 1995
Interior Minister Sanan Kachornprasart backs Army Commander
Gen Wimol Wongwanich's proposal to move Karen refugee camps
deep inside Thai territory.
The relocation would help resolve security problems posed by
the influx of Karen refugees camping along the border, Maj-Gen
Sanan said yesterday.
If Karen refugee camps were moved deep inside Thailand it
would make it difficult for foreign forces to cross the border
and threaten the refugees.
I agree with the idea and will discuss with the military
where the camps should be relocated, he said.
Gen Wimol earlier said if Karen refugees were left to camp
along the border it would pose a security threat and cause
problems for the army in safeguarding the area.
Third Army commander said there were so many Karen camps near
the border they created a problem for the Third Army to keep
the situation in check.
Burma denied it had anything to do with the attacks, he said.
It claimed the Burmese army could not control Karen Buddhists
as these people did not belong to the Burmese armed forces.
The commander said he was not certain whether Burmese soldiers
were also involved in  the assaults as it was hard to clearly
identify them.
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai said Karen Buddhist forces might
have been coordinating their actions with Burmese troops
during the latest assault on Karen refugees in Tak's Tha Song
Yang district.
Chiang Mai Governor Khamron Buncherd is placing emphasis on
preventing Burmese migrants from illegally entering Thailand
across the Thai-Burmese border during clashes between Burmese
troops and minority rebel forces.
The preventive measures were taken to avoid allegations that
Thailand backs Burmese minority groups in assembling their
forces on Thai soil.
Governor Khamron, after returning from a meeting of the Joint
Thai-Burma Committee in Phitsanulok Province, disclosed that
the main issue raised was the adverse impact of fighting
between Burmese troops and Khun Sa's minority forces which has
been affecting national security along the border.
The fighting in Burma, said the governor at the meeting, had
caused a number of local Thai villagers to be injured by stray
bullets landing on Thai soil and Burmese migrants to flee
deeper into Thai territory.
Thailand also raised the issue of Thais being robbed and
arrested by  Burmese, said Mr Khamron, and requested that the
Burmese representative bring it up before the central
government to seek solutions.
He said Burma's Chiang Tung Governor, Gen Jorwin, a member of
the Burma Committee, had mentioned that he was unhappy about a
report on the death of a Thai villager, Mr Thawee Khamtankaew,
who was shot dead by Burmese troops in Tachilek District
earlier this month.
Gen Jorwin was quoted as saying the Thai victim had slipped
into Burma during heavy attacks, adding that the man had run
away when Burmese soldiers asked to search him, leading them
to misunderstand and think he was one of Khun Sa's men.
Because it is only a representative of the Burmese
government, the Burma Committee could not make any decision on
the Thai villager's death.
We therefore decided to directly send a letter to the Burmese
government asking it to take responsibility for the incident,
said Governor Khamron.
In an effort to avoid allegations that Thailand was supporting
Burmese minority rebel forces, the governor said barriers such
as gates and barbed-wire fences had been ordered put along
critical border points to bar any migrants from illegally
entering Thailand.
Meanwhile, a senior commander of Burma's Karen National Union
(KNU) rebels said peace overtures to the country's military
government had failed and set a May 5 deadline for a
resumption of offensive operations.
The KNU, one of the world's oldest rebel groups, declared a
unilateral suspension of attacks on March 24 and said it was
ready to begin peace talks with the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc).
But Slorc responded by making approaches through
intermediaries to individual zone commanders, not to the KNU
leadership, in what the guerrillas said was a clear attempt to
split the organisation.
The KNU has set May 5 as the deadline to resume fighting if
the Slorc fails to contact us by then, senior guerrilla
commander Maj-Gen Thaw Hla told Reuters in an interview late
on Thursday.
The peace overture seems to have failed since the Slorc
chooses to use a divide and rule policy towards us, he said on
the border south of the northwest Thai town of Mae Sot. (BP)

29 April 1995

Thailand has told Burma it will no longer tolerate border
incursions in the North. The Foreign Ministry yesterday
protested to the Burmese government about the incidents, said
ministry spokesman Suvidhya Simaskul.
The diplomatic action came as the Democratic Karen Buddhist
Army launched a further cross-border raid into Thailand
yesterday, setting fire to another refugee camp and a police
checkpoint before retreating with some weapons and one Thai
soldier as a hostage.
One Karen refugee was burned alive in the bunker under her
shelter. Seven others were injured.
Thai Ambassador in Rangoon Poksak Nilubol handed over the
protest note, referring to five incidents in the past 10 days
which involved groups of armed Burmese military personnel
intruding into Thailand.
Such activities are unacceptable and deplorable. They were
crimes against innocent people seeking safety as a result of
fighting across the border, Mr Suvidhya said.
The first intrusion occurred on April 19 when a group of 30
armed men crossed the border from Burma and seized 10 Karen
seeking temporary refuge in Tha Song Yang district of Tak. The
group also took Karen belongings and set ablaze their
dwellings before retreating.
The latest two raids by 300 Burmese soldiers took place last
Tuesday as two Burmese refugee camps in Tak and Mae Hong Song
provinces were razed, causing more than 1,000 refugees to flee
deeper inland.
All of these incidents violated Thailand's sovereignty and
territorial integrity, the spokesman said.
In view of the increasing number of violations of Thailand's
sovereignty in various forms during the past four months, the
Thai Government would no longer tolerate any such infringment
and would take appropriate retaliatory action in the strongest
terms to safeguard the country's sovereignty and territorial
integrity, he said.
The protest note was originally to be handed over directly to
Burmese Ambassador to Thailand Tin Win.
But U Tin Win accompanied Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw to
a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Bandung, Indonesia,
and returned to Bangkok only last night.
Police chief Pote Boonyachinda said Border Patrol Police were
sent in armoured personnel carriers to the Tak border in Tha
Song Yang district yesterday morning following the morning
raid by the DKBA on a Karen refugee camp at Huay Manoke.
About 300 DKBA armed with rocket-propelled grenade-launchers
and 81mm mortars crossed into Thailand around 8 a.m. before
attacking a Thai border security unit at a police checkpoint
on Tha Song Yang-Mae Sariang highway.
One Thai soldier, Sgt Tawatchai Wanond, was injured during the
ensuing 20-minute clash and was captured as his unit,
outnumbered by the DKBA force, retreated to safety.
The  Buddhist Karen then raided a Karen refugee camp at Ban
Huay Manoke, setting fire to 800 shelters and a field hospital
along with the police checkpoint before retreating with some
weapons and radio equipment.
Task Force Commander Direk Yaem-ngarmriab said the intruding
Karen withdrew after Thai reinforcements of light aircraft and
armoured vehicles arrived at the scene.
One V-150 armoured personnel carrier was slightly damaged when
it was hit by shrapnel from an RPG fired by the withdrawing
Border Patrol Police who combed the fire-ravaged refugee camp
found a Karen woman, identified later as Ka Moo Phaw, 18, had
died from a fire inside a bunker under her shelter.
Seven other refugees were injured.
Sgt Tawatchai, who was abducted by the Karen, was released
about seven hours after the fighting following talks between
the BPP unit and the Burmese military authority at Mae Ta Wah
camp on the opposite side of the border.
Sgt Tawatchai said he had been taken to the Burmese military
camp by the Karen force following the attack.
The Karen refugee camp at Ban Huay Manoke housed 6,400
refugees, 4,000 of whom were homeless following the attack.
The refugees claimed the DKBA had told them it would burn all
the refugee camps along the border in Tak to force them to
return to Burma. (BP)