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Wired News on May 9 & 10, 1995

Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Wired News on May 9 & 10, 1995

Thai Forces Seize Weapons from Karen Refugee Camps

      By Somchit Rungchamratrasmi 

    MAE SOT, Thailand, May 10 (Reuter) - Thailand moved to defuse tension on
its border with Burma by sending troops on Wednesday to seize weapons
belonging to Burmese Karen refugees camped inside Thai territory. 

    Combined Thai forces launched a pre-dawn surprise search on the refugee
camps inside Thailand, seizing large numbers of weapons hidden in the camps,
officials said. 

    ``The search is to reduce tension on the border and to demonstrate to our
Burmese counterparts that we are sincere when we say we want to settle this
problem,'' Lieutenant-General Surachet Dachatiwonge, the Thai army commander
responsible for the border region, told reporters. 

    He said the search would continue until the army was sure all weapons had
been removed from the camps. 

    More than 500 men were involved in the pre-dawn search on four refugee
camps where officials confiscated seven rocket-propelled grenades, 16 M-16
rifles, 13 Kalishnikov rifles, four M-79 rocket launchers, three M-79 bomb
launchers and 3,729 rounds of ammunition. 

    The searches came a day after Rangoon and a Karen splinter group angrily
accused Thailand of harboring Burmese guerrillas. 

    ``The problems that have occurred on the Thai-Myanmar (Burma) border are
a consequence of Thailand having harboured for various reasons terrorists who
seek to oppose Myanmar,'' the Burmese embassy in Bangkok said late on

    The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Karen splinter group which
claimed responsibility for harrassing the 74,000 Karen refugees living in
camps in Thailand in recent weeks, also accused Thailand of sheltering
guerrillas from the Christian-led, anti-Rangoon Karen National Union (KNU). 

    In attempts to retrieve KNU weapons, the DKBA has raided and burned down
more than 1,000 refugees' houses in the past two weeks, burning to death one
refugee and injuring five. 

    ``Tons of the weapons belonging to the KNU are hidden inside the refugees
camps inside Thailand. We wanted those weapons and if the Thai army cannot
give them to us we will go and get them ourselves,'' U Yanika, a Buddhist
monk who is deputy to the DKBA's religious leader, told Reuters during a
jungle camp interview earlier this week. 

    ``The KNU used 14 elephants to transport weapons from their deserted
camps to the refugees camps and hid them there. So when we raid the refugees
camps the DKBA only wants to get the weapons and the guerrillas back to
Burma,'' Toe Hlaing, the regional DKBA commander, told Reuters. 

    The pro-Rangoon DKBA was formed in December by hundreds of Buddhist Karen
guerrillas who mutinied against their mainy Christian leaders. 

    Toe Hlaing said his leader had ordered a temporary halt to cross-border
attacks to await the Thai reaction. 

    The DKBA raids angered Thailand and prompted an official complaint to
Burma's military ruling body. Thailand also moved in more than 1,000
reinforcements and a formidable array of military hardware to reinforce the

    Thai helicopters attacked a DKBA camp in Burma late last week, firing
rockets into the rebel position on the northwestern Thai border. 

    The KNU has been fighting since 1949 for autonomy from Rangoon. 

Transmitted: 95-05-10 07:04:24 EDT

Burma Blames Thailand for Border Tension

    (Releads with Burma accusation.) 

    RANGOON, May 9 (Reuter) - Burma's military government blamed Thailand on
Tuesday for tension along their border and said problems would continue to
occur as long as Thailand harboured anti-Burma ``terrorists.'' 

    Colonel Kyaw Win, deputy director general of Burma's Directorate of
Defence Services Intelligence, told a news conference Burma wanted to prolong
amity and diminish enmity and there would be no problems if Thailand acted
the same way. 

    Kyaw Win said there was clear evidence that guerrillas loyal to opium
warlord Khun Sa travelled through Thailand by bus to attack the northeastern
town of Tachilek in March. 

    He also said Karen guerrilla leaders had built a makeshift base on Thai

    Thai policy is to disarm combatants from Burma or Cambodia who cross into
the country but to allow temporary refuge on humanitarian grounds. 

    In Thailand, Thai army sources said tension on the Thai-Burmese border
had increased with hundreds of Burmese troops, with orders to shoot down Thai
aircraft, sent to the frontier. 

    Fresh Burmese troops, equipped with heavy weapons, have been sent to
various parts of Burma along the border with Thailand. 

    ``At least 68 military trucks fully loaded with soldiers and equipment
were sent north from Myawadi in the past few days,'' a Thai army source
opposite the Burmese bordertown of Myawadi told Reuters. 

    Late last month Burmese-backed guerrillas launched several cross-border
raids on Karen refugee camps in Thailand, prompting Bangkok to send in more
than 1,000 reinforcements. 

    Another Thai army source, based in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailan
d opposite Burma's Shan state, said many Burmese troops had been sent
recently to areas captured from guerrillas loyal Khun Sa. 

    ``Their regional commanders have ordered them on 24-hour alert and to
shoot down any aircraft that violates their airspace,'' The Thai army source
told Reuters. 

Transmitted: 95-05-09 10:27:07 EDT

Laos, Burma Sign Economic Cooperation Agreements

      RANGOON, Burma (Reuter) - Burma and Laos signed agreements to cooperate
in the areas of trade, agriculture, forestry, tourism and narcotics-suppressio
n, Burma's state media  reported Tuesday. 

    The pacts were signed during a trip to Burma by Laotian President Nouhak
Phoumsavan, who arrived in Rangoon for an official five-day visit Monday. 

    Nouhak, who is accompanied by a 28-member delegation including senior
Laotian government officials, is due to visit Burma's second city, Mandalay,
and the ancient city of Pagan, the media said. 

Transmitted: 95-05-09 10:55:01 EDT

India Honors Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi

      NEW DELHI, India (Reuter) - India has decided to honor Burma's jailed
pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi with its highest peace award, the
United News of India said Monday. 

    It said the government had decided to present the Jawaharlal Nehru Award
for International Understanding to the Nobel Peace Prize-winner for ``her
brave, non-violent and unyielding struggle for freedom and democracy in her

    Previous recipients of the award, which carries a prize money of $48,000,
have included the late American civil-rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.,
South African President Nelson Mandela and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Transmitted: 95-05-08 13:05:40 EDT