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


   RANGOON, Jan 8 AFP - State-run Radio Rangoon announced today 
that over 4,400 members of opium warlord Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army 
(MTA), active in the country's eastern Shan State, have surrendered 
to the Burmese military.
	   Elements of the MTA in the Ho Mong and Doi Lang regions east of 
the Salween River and west of Thailand's Mae Hong Son province had 
been "surrendering en masse" to government troops since January 5, 
the official news release said.
	   The rebel troops gave up because they realised the futility of 
resisting Rangoon's latest onslaught, which began on December 15, 
according to the report.
	   Over 2,600 MTA troops active in the Doi Lang region surrendered 
on January 5 and 6 with more than 1,800 weapons, while on January 7 
over 1,800 troops in the Ho Mong region did likewise with more than 
1,600 weapons, it said.
	   The official release stressed that the surrender involved men, 
weapons and areas of control, but made no mention of Khun Sa 
	   The announcement contradicted reports from sources in Thailand 
that an agreement would leave MTA troops armed and in charge of 
territory they had held.
	   This was the first official news release to be issued by Burma's 
military government in connection with Khun Sa and the MTA since 
media reports appeared last week that a deal had been made allowing 
government troops into the area.
	   AFP arw/

   By Sutin Wannabovorn of Reuters
	   BANGKOK, Jan 8 Reuter - Burma's opium warlord Khun Sa and senior 
Burmese army officers raised glasses of whiskey to toast a peace 
agreement ending the veteran rebel's war with the government, one 
of his aides said today.
	   About 1,000 fighters from Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA) took 
part in the peace ceremony yesterday at the drug lord's 
headquarters in the hills of northeastern Burma's Shan state.
	   About 20 senior Burmese army officers and government officials 
arrived in Ho Mong by helicopter several hours before the signing, 
an MTA officer said.
	   The highlight of the ceremony was the handing over of MTA 
weapons to the government side, including a cache of surface-to-air 
missiles, said the officer. He was speaking to Reuters in a 
telephone interview from the Thai-Burmese border.
	   The peace agreement was worked out in December and Burmese 
government troops began moving unopposed into Ho Mong and other 
Khun Sa strongholds in Shan state at the beginning of this month.
	   The pact is expected to turn the MTA into a local government 
militia but Khun Sa's fate remains unclear.
	   "Khun Sa said he would put out a statement to all Shan people 
soon, announcing the conditions of the agreement," said the MTA 
officer, who declined to be identified.
	   He said the Burmese troops in Ho Mong did not appear to be 
preparing to arrest the drug lord.
	   "They were drinking whiskey together after the ceremony. I don't 
think they're going to arrest him," the officer said.
	   The United States last week announced a $US2 million ($A2.69 
million) reward for information leading to the arrest and 
conviction of the drug baron and said it was Burma's duty to see he 
was brought to justice and handed over to US authorities.
	   Khun Sa was indicted on drugs charges in a New York court in 
December 1989 after a lengthy investigation relating to the seizure 
at Bangkok port of 1.05 tonnes of heroin.
	   Burmese government officials have said Khun Sa will not be sent 
to the United States but will be put on trial in Rangoon.
	   "There will be no extradition to the United States," one Burmese 
official told Reuters at the weekend.
	   "He will definitely be put on trial in Rangoon, 100 per cent 
sure," said the offical, who declined to be identified.
	   He said Burma and the United States do not have an extradition 
treaty and there were also worries about the possibility of Khun Sa 
revealing damaging information about Burmese officials if he were 
sent to the US.
	   He did not elaborate on what information Khun Sa might give US 
authorities but the drug lord is widely believed to have struck 
deals with Burmese army officers at various times over his long 
	   Although he claimed to be a Shan nationalist fighting for the 
independence of Shan state, for years Khun Sa has never fought 
Burmese government troops, and was in turn left alone by them.
	   The ceasefire deal follows a serious split in the MTA engineered 
by young Shan nationalists frustrated with what they said was Khun 
Sa's obsession with the drugs trade at the expense of ideology.
	   While Khun Sa controlled approximately half of Shan state's 
annual opium crop of more than 2,000 tonnes, anti-narcotics 
officials doubt his surrender will have much impact on production, 
at least in the short term.
	   REUTER jv/jlw