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SLORC troops capture Khun Sa's head

Subject: SLORC troops capture Khun Sa's headquarters without a battle

BANGKOK, Jan 2 (Reuter) - About 1,500 Burmese troops have taken over the
jungle headquarters of drug warlord Khun Sa in the opium growing Golden
Triangle region, civilian sources in the town said on Tuesday.
Sources in Khun Sa's hilly stronghold of Ho Mong on the edge of Burma's
eastern Shan State, about 30 kms (19 miles) from the Thai border, told
Reuters by telephone that Burmese troops met no resistance when they entered
Ho Mong on Monday morning.
"Thousands of Burmese soldiers were trucked into the town since Monday
morning," Khun Kya Oo, a senior official of Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA)
living in northern Thailand said.
A source in Ho Mong said more armed Burmese troops kept moving into the town
on Tuesday.
"(Burmese troops) are being deployed at camps where MTA soldiers used to
live but they do not disturb villagers," a civilian source said.
The sources said it was unclear if Khun Sa and his senior officers were
still in Ho Mong.
Khun Sa, 61, an ethnic Chinese Shan who has been indicted by a U.S. court on
various narcotic trafficking charges, announced his retirement as MTA
commander in November.
The MTA have claimed to be fighting for a Shan State autonomous from Burma's
government in Rangoon.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1996

By Sutin Wannabovorn
BANGKOK, Dec 31 (Reuter) - Troops loyal to opium warlord Khun Sa have handed
their sworn enemies, Burmese government forces, a strategic pass on the Thai
border in a new twist in the Golden Triangle region, Thai police said on Sunday.
More than 1,000 Burmese troops marched into the Doi Lang, a trade gateway on
the border of northeastern Burma's Shan state and Thailand last Friday.
"The Khun Sa camp leader greeted Burmese troops at the foot of the mountain,
led them up the to the top and handed them the camp," a Thai Border Patrol
Police officer told Reuters.
Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA) has battled rivals for years to keep a firm
grip on the mountain base. Burmese leaders have in the past vowed to crush
Khun Sa and his guerrilla force.
Khun Sa says he is a Shan nationalist fighting for independence, but the
Burmese military government condemns him as a drug-running "terrorist".
The powerful MTA had a major setback in June when several thousand fighters
broke away, accusing Khun Sa of caring more about the opium business than
the Shan independence struggle.
In November Khun Sa officially stepped down as leader of the MTA, saying he
had lost heart after the defection.
It was not immediately clear if the surrender of Doi Lang had been ordered
by MTA headquarters or was decided by the local MTA commander, the Thai
officer said.
The handover of the mountaintop base came as a surprise to one officer in
Khun Sa's guerrilla army, based on a different section of the border.
"I've heard that the Burmese have entered Doi Lang but I don't have any
details," the MTA officer told Reuters.
Khun Sa's rivals, from the powerful Wa guerrilla army, who have been
fighting the MTA in the area for years, were also puzzled by the move.
An official from the Wa group, allied to the Burmese government army since a
1989 ceasefire, said the Burmese sent a radio message to them on Saturday
asking the Wa to stop attacking the Doi Lang area.
"We were very surprised by the sudden change. Our commanders agreed to stop
operations against Doi Lang for the time being but we'll continue to fight
the MTA in other places," the Wa official said.
"The MTA are on the run. We've captured a lot of their outposts in the past
weeks. We'll continue to drive them out even if the Burmese have stopped
fighting them," he said.
The Wa army and Khun Sa's force are the two main factions blamed for a flood
of heroin from Burma's Shan state.
International anti-narcotics agencies estimate opium production in Shan
state is more than 2,000 kg a year, enough to make 200 tonnes of heroin.
Burmese territory is by far the largest producer of opium in the Golden
Triangle area, which also includes part of Thailand and northern Laos.
U.S. officials say 60 percent of the heroin on U.S. streets comes from Burma.  
(c) Reuters Limited 1995