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BurmaNet News January 7, 1995: Khun

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Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 21:37:21 -0800
Subject: BurmaNet News January 7, 1995: Khun Sa's Deal

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The BurmaNet News: January 7, 1996


January 4, 1996    by Yindee Lertcharoenchok

CHIANG MAI - Opium warlord Khun Sa is believed to have 
struck an "amnesty" deal with the Burmese junta, giving it 
access to the Thai border area under his control in the Shan 
State and creating a new and sensitive security situation on 
both side of the frontier.

The Army has responded to the new Burmese presence by 
boosting the military's strength in the area, including 
bringing in additional artillery, and officials have 
expressed "extreme concern" at the development.

Under the agreement, Khun Sa's estimated 6-8000 well-armed 
troops known as the Mong Tai Army (MTA) would gradually be 
transformed into local militia forces, said well-informed 
Thai government and army officials.

Khun Sa, who is wanted by both the Thai and US governments 
on several heroin trafficking charges, has stunned the 
international community with his secret deal with the State 
Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc).

Although Khun Sa is believed to have asked for a Slorc 
amnesty in return for his quite withdrawal from the 
guerrilla movement, which he claimed was fighting for the 
independence of the Shan State, Thai intelligence officials 
suspect other hidden motives and agreements played a crucial 
role behind his move.

As part of the deal, the MTA had withdrawn from the 
strategic outpost on Doilang and allowed Burmese forces to 
take control of the hill, which has been claimed by both 
Thailand and Burma.

Doilang, which is located in Thailand's Mae Aie district of 
Chiang Mai, forms part of a mountain chain that serves as 
the natural boundary between the Kingdom and Burma.

Thai officials from several government and military agencies 
said yesterday that the Burmese Army had recently sent about 
1,500 troops to Doilang area, of which 300 had been 
stationing on the hill top since Dec 29, after the MTA 

The Burmese military deployment has prompted the Thai Army 
to send fresh reinforcements, including heavy artillery, to 
Doilang area where forces from both countries are tensely 
confronting one another.

Thai officials said they were "extremely concerned" about 
the Doilang confrontation and the overall changing security 
environment and situation along the MTA-controlled frontier 
- from Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district down to Mae Hong Son 
province - which will now come under direct the supervision 
of Slorc.

A senior Thai Army officer in Bangkok yesterday expressed 
the Army's "extreme concern" about the situation at Doilang, 
where both countries have been using different maps to claim 
their sovereign rights.

He said Deputy Army Chief Gen Chettha Thanajaro was worried 
that the confrontation could lead to military clashes and on 
Tuesday made a long distance telephone call to Slorc leader 
Lt Gen Khin Nyunt in which he suggested the two countries 
show restraint and avoid any military action.

"The Burmese said agreed (with Chettha's suggestion). They 
have assured us that the objective of the Burmese Army's 
presence in Doilang area is not to engage Thai troops. They 
are also concerned that their local officers might take some 
unilateral action," said the officer who asked not to be named.

"Once a bullet is fired it would be difficult to stop. So we 
(Thailand) have urged that both sides show restraint and not 
let any firing takes place," he added.

Chettha had already instructed the 3rd Army Region Commander 
Lt Gen Thanom Watcharaphut to avoid any military action, and 
Slorc leaders in Rangoon had also passed similar 
instructions to their Eastern Commander, Maj Gen Tin Tut, 
said the officer, who declined to disclose the number of 
Thai troops sent to Doilang area.

He said the Supreme Command was in the process of asking the 
Foreign Ministry to raise the demarcation of the disputed 
Doilang area with Burma. The officer said he suspected the 
MTA withdrawal could be a ploy by Khun Sa to let Thai and 
Burmese forces clash over the territory.

Other officials said the Burmese deployment in the area was 
a violation of Thai territory and that Thailand wanted to 
see both sides withdraw their troops from the area.

While the Burmese deployment in Doilang started on Dec 29, 
the officials said Khun Sa and Slorc officially struck the 
deal on Jan 2 without any written agreement.

They said the MTA headquarters at Homong, which is opposite 
Mae Hong Son's Muang district, remained under MTA control 
and Khun Sa was still there. Telephone communications with 
Homong from Thailand were still in operation as of yesterday 
but MTA officials would not take calls and no confirmation 
was possible of Khun Sa's whereabouts.

An MTA official in Chiang Mai declined yesterday to comment 
about Khun Sa's secret deal with Slorc, saying that the 
information was still sketchy and that he only learned about 
the agreement from the media.

Khun Sa, who has been wanted by Thai police over a decade 
and has a Bt1 million reward on his head, recently told a 
public gathering that he would surprise all those who wanted 
to arrest him on drug charges.

The All Burma Students' Democratic Front said yesterday Khun 
Sa decided to ally himself with Slorc to form "regional 
defence troops" after 88 per cent of the MTA voted for the move.

The vote was taken on Dec 22, and the MTA signed a ceasefire 
agreement with the junta on Dec 29, the ABSDF press release stated. (TN)


January 4, 1995

THAI forces have been beefed up along the northern border with 
Burma in response to security concerns sparked by reports the 
Mong Tai Army led by opium warlord Khun Sa has surrendered to 

Military forces and police have been brought in to maintain 
the integrity of the ill-defined border between the two 
countries after Burmese troops reportedly moved into the MTA's 
headquarters and other strongholds.

The Thai Army has been in direct contact with top Burmese 
leaders, including Slorc's first secretary Khin Nyunt, since 
Tuesday to inform the Burmese of the Thai soldiers' presence 
at the border.

The move was aimed at preempting any possible armed clashes 
between Burmese soldiers who have taken over positions once 
controlled by the MTA and Thai forces which have been deployed 
along the border.

Signs of troubles began on Monday after Burmese soldiers who 
moved into the MTA's position at Doi Lang opposite Mae Ai 
District, Chiang Mai, tried to lay claim to the hill.

Both Thailand and Burma which hold different border maps, have 
claimed the strategic hill is in their territory but the 
presence of the MTA force had hampered any serious contest of 
its ownership.

Supreme Commander Gen Viroj Saengsnit told reporters Rangoon 
has been informed to instruct its border troops to avoid using 
force if they come across Thai soldiers and to settle any 
conflict by taking while the question over the border line is 
waiting to be resolved.

Reliable Army sources said Army Deputy Commander Chettha 
Thanajaro has been assigned by Army Chief Pramon Palasin to 
liaise with the Burmese leadership over problems that might 
arise at this border front.

The source said the MTA had served as a buffer between the 
Thai and Burmese soldiers. With the MTA's surrender, Thai and 
Burmese soldiers are now facing each other and the ill-defined 
border could lead to clashes without any high-level moves to 
pre-empt them.

A military source said soldiers of the Naresuan Force's 7th 
Infantry Division and Mae Sariang-based 36th Rangers Battalion 
have been positioned along the border in Muang District of Mae 
Hong Son.

Thai reconnaissance aircraft flew along the border to keep the 
situation under watch, he said.

The Border Patrol Police's 336th Unit, local administration 
officials and provincial police were prepared to cope with a 
possible influx of the Shan civilians from Ho Mong through 
various border crossings. Ho Mong was the MTA headquarters on 
the edge of Burma's eastern Shan State, about 30 km from the 
Thai border.

The authorities have also taken stricter measures to check 
travel documents of people including Thai and foreign 
reporters wishing to cross the border to cover news on Khun 
Sa's surrender.

In the latest development, Maj Kyaw Tun, an MTA officer who 
fled from Ho Mong headquarters to Mae Hong Son said over 2,000 
Rangoon troops gathered at Ho Mong yesterday morning to attend 
a ceremony in which the MTA handed over weapons and officially 
surrendered to the Burmese troops.

He said Rangoon soldiers had taken control of all military 
locations of Khun Sa.

Kyaw Tun said Khun Sa sent representatives to negotiate with 
the Slorc under the pretext of seeking a truce to develop 
areas occupied by ethnic minority groups along the Thai-
Burmese border.

He added: "in fact, Khun Sa sent his men to secretly talk with 
the Burmese government to surrender the MTA to be under the 
Burmese army.

"At present some groups of soldiers of Shan origin are not 
satisfied with Khun Sa. They regard Khun Sa as having betrayed 
the Shan people."

Kyaw Tun said Khun Sa, after reaching a secret deal with the 
Slorc, sent his aides to tell military leaders at various 
bases that he would hold official peace talks with the Burmese 
soldiers on January 3. He also asked them to allow Burmese 
soldiers to march to Ho Mong.

Kyaw Tun said a number of MTA military leaders, dissatisfied 
with Khun Sa, had led their soldiers and civilians to cross 
the border to Thailand.

The handover of arms followed recent reports Khun Sa had 
secretly shown an interest in surrendering his territory and 
troops to the Slorc to end his four-decade long battle with 
the military junta.

The report of a ceasefire agreement between the MTA and 
Rangoon has surprised the world community, particularly 

Khun Sa, alias Chang Si Fu, has been indicted in the United 
States on drug trafficking charges. The majority of heroin 
distributed throughout the world is alleged to originate in 
areas under MTA control.

The MTA under Khun Sa was considered the strongest of the 
groups fighting for an independence Shan State.

Another MTA source said that on November 9 last year, 61-year 
old Khun Sa sent a five member delegation to visit Rangoon. It 
was led by Zao Khun Saeng, minister of economic affairs, and 
Zao Khwan Muang, minister in charge of politics.

The source said the ceasefire negotiations had been mediated 
by the Shan National League for Democracy (SNLD) and Khun Sa's 
secretary, Zao Laotai.

Under the ceasefire agreement, the MTA must hand over some 
weapons to Rangoon to show its sincerity, the source said.

The MTA, in turn, set a condition that soldiers under the 
control of Khun Sa must be accepted as military volunteers in 
the Rangoon army.

On December 20, the SNLD sent a representative to meet Khun Sa 
at the MTA's Ho Mong stronghold to confirm the MTA's defection 
to Burma.

The source said the drugs warlord had made his stance clear in 
surrendering to the Slorc.

On December 22, Khun Sa called a meeting with Shan State's 
panels of various affairs and his MTA soldiers to sound out 
their views on defection to the Burmese government.

More than 80 percent of MTA troops voted for the move, 
according to the source.

Most opponents claimed they had joined the MTA for years in 
fighting for independence of the Shan State.

Showing their dissatisfaction with Khun Sa's idea, some MTA 
personnel had decided to defect to the Shan State National 
Army (SSNA) under the leadership of Maj Gunyod. Some had left 
the MTA umbrella to make their own living.

The source said the MTA has continuously created close ties 
with the Slorc. He said Khun Sa's coordinator, Zao Suwan, met 
a senior Burmese official at Tha Sob Teng near Salween River 
on December 28.

To show the MTA's sincerity towards Burma, Zao Suwan openly 
invited Rangoon soldiers to visit the MTA stronghold at Ho 
Mong. (BP)


January 1 , 1996 
 (Report from Shan Herald Agency News, mouthpiece of the Mong Tai Army)

It was Aesop's famous fable all over again. Two seals catch a fish and dispute
with each other about the choice of its best part. The wily fox intervenes,
presides over the case, gives the head to one seal and tail part to the other,
while he takes the fleshy middle part for himself.

The Mong Tai Army and the United Wa State Army (aka the Communist Party of Burma
until 1989 ) had battled over the possession of Doi Lang with its fetile Yawn
River Valley for more than 13 years. Peace talks were arranged but never quite
succeeded in bringing results. Thousands of precious young lives on both sides
had been sacrificed for this valley.

Then on the night of December 30, 1,500 burmese troops moved into the area,
presumably with the tacit agreement of the besieged MTA. They not only fought
with the Was who were resuming their attacks against the MTA but also got behind
the Thai paramilitary bases which were set up along the  " new borderline " with
Burma's Shan State in 1991. The Burmese military's latest move in effect
questions the Thais' claim on the disputed area.

On the MTA's part, with their own dispute with the Was being settled by Burmese
intervention,further questions as to their claim to the larger territory - the
Shan State itself - have inevitably been raised. People are beginning to ask
whether they are still fighting for it.

The Central Executive Committee of the MTA admits that the MTA, weakened by the
june mutiny, is now forced to start from square one again. However, Khwanmong,
Secretary- 1, says without elaboration, that the MTA shall continue to work in
the best interests of the Shan State.


January 3 , 1996

After several behind- the-scenes talks with SLORC, the strongest opposition army
of the Shans has reportedly agreed to give up its 38-year-long armed struggle
against the successive Burmese governments that have been in power since
annexing the once self-ruled Shan State in 1952, according to reports received
by S.H.A.N. during the past few weeks.

Soon after the Central Executive Committee of the Shan State Restoration Council
proposed dialogue on 12 September, negotiations were secretly conducted between
the two once sworn enemies. " It may probably work out in favour for both
parties : one, the SLORC, is badly in need of a better image in order to please
the world, especially the US and also to concentrate all its available resources
on their remaining opponent - Aung San Suu Kyi ; the other one, the  MTA with
special emphasis on Khun Sa, totally suffocated by its negative media image, is
desperate for a breathing space and fresh air, " as one inside source put it.

Though the details have yet to be worked out between them, the main agreement
seems to be that the MTA shall henceforth be a " surrender group " in contrast
to the " ceasefire groups " which have so far come to terms with SLORC.

In accordance with the preliminary agreements, the SLORC demanded confirmation
from the CEC and Khun Sa at a face-to-face meeting. Understandably, since Khun
Sa could not travel outside the Free Territory, the Burmese were instead invited
to the MTA's stronghold in  Ho Mong . The  Burmese then decided they wanted a
hostage to ensure the safety of their delegation. In response to this, Zao Khun
seng, Khun Sa's uncle, was sent to the Burmese capital on December 18, which
paved the way for Rangoon's visit to Ho Mong on December 30.

The " 9-man delegation " to Ho Mong was headed by Lt.- Col. San Pwint of the
SLORC's powerful Military Intelligence. It later turned out that his was only a
vanguard team coming to make arrangements for the main delegation that arrived
in Ho Mong on January 2 . S.H.A.N. however is still unable to find out who has
been included in this 17-man delegation.

As for reports about the rebel capital being occupied by the Burmese troops, the
MTA has flatly denied this. " These troops have come only to guard their
superiors. Everything will be discussed and agreed between the two sides before
anything is imposed on the local populace.They shall be able to continue their
lives in the area the way they have done during the past ten years since the MTA
took it from the Kuomintang in 1985. What we are going to do is not to put a
stop to what is being done here, but only to facilitate everything."

So what about Khun Sa's declaration of Independence in 1993? Has it gone down
the drain ? " I don't think anything I say right now will convince people
anyway. So why don't we wait until our nerves have settled back to normal, "
said the CEC member.

S.H.A.N. asked Khuensai Jaiyen, former MTA spokesman, for his opinion : " All I
can say now is that I regret what has happened but I sympathize with those
responsible. I believe they have done what they regard is the best thing they
could do for the people at present. But I don't think it was the right thing to
do. Let's hope I'm wrong, because I'm out of the movement now. " He says he will
devote his time to the Kornzurng Memorial Society, which he co-founded in early


January 6, 1996

The expected but unwelcome (to most ) ceremony for the Mong Tai Army's surrender
is due to take place  tomorrow, says an anonymous source in Ho Mong.

MTA soldiers are busy making preparations for the handover of arms to SLORC at
the town's soccer field, which also serves as a place for holding special
festivities . The Burmese soldiers who have taken their position on the hilltop
nearby meanwhile are reported to be behaving themselves reasonably well.

" They leave their weapons behind when they go to the market place. It's just as
well. Because they ought to know they are in a hostile environment with many
among the population who are likely still armed with weapons and liable to
pounce on them any time they make one false move, " says the source.

Across the border, Some Thai authorities think all this is going to turn out
well for all. " If it does, the Burmese shall reopen the Salween crossings.
which will in turn enable us to ease up the border controls. Cross border trade
shall resume and Maehongson will be a boom town again. I don't consider either
side (i.e. Burmese or Shan) is losing. Indeed, I'd say both are winners
considering the enomous benefits the  " Surrender " shall bring to them, " says

" It's easy to see why SLORC has so readily accepted MTA's surrender proposal.
Firstly, it is being offered pie on a platter without having to toil. Secondly,
despite official US disappointment over Burmese refusal to arrest and extradite
Khun Sa to the US, the overall relations between Rangoon and Washington are more
than likely to improve. The SLORC's lobbyists in Washington and New York will
see to that. Thirdly, the SLORC shall inevitably use this diplomatic gain to
neutralize the opposition headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. I wouldn't be surprised if
she and her party found themselves losing their stature both nationally and
internationally, " he said.