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AFP/REUTER NEWS (8/1/96)
ASIA: BURMESE RADIO ANNOUNCES SURRENDER OF KHUN SA'S fORCES
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.
ASIA: KHUN SA, BURMESE COMMANDERS TOAST PEACE DEAL
BURMA (CARRIED EARLIER)
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.