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Organization: Forum for Democracy and Human Rights
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Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 20:54:08 +0000
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Subject: No. 1 Patriotic Burma Army
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          IN WAKE OF CRAck-down
          Political Defiance Activities in Military Continue

          Burma--It was reported that two entire battalions of Burmese
          soldiers have sought freedom and moved into a state
          on Burma's western border.  This marks the largest defection
          of soldiers in recent history and points to the unmistakable
          fact that there is tremendous pressure within the military
          over SLORC's policies against the democracy movement and
          ethnic groups.

          Although the group has yet to make a statement to the press,
          they are reported by sources along the border to be in good
          health.  They are now integrating with border groups and
          implementing programs to carry out political defiance
          activities against the military regime.

          Over the past six months there has been a dramatic increase
          in soldiers fleeing the Burma Army both in Burma and abroad
          at embassy posts.  Democracy and border groups have targeted
          the Burma army for increased attention through political
          defiance activities (PD).  Materials describing how to
          oppose the illegal military regime using non-violent methods
          are in demand within the Burma Army.  Democracy activists
          are finding it very difficult to keep up with the requests
          coming from units within the army for PD material, including
          tapes of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's speeches.

          Earlier this year, soldiers defected to India brought  all
          their equipment, several returned to their units and
          encouraged others to leave.  They and others described their
          situation as desperate saying that they lived in constant
          fear of beatings from superiors, had to pay for medical
          care, were forced to commit human rights abuses, and forced
          to smuggle heroin for drug traffickers.  They said that the
          Army is not the military of General Aung San, it has been
          corrupted and terrorized by SLORC.  It is no longer the
          protector of the people, but the oppressor of the people.

          Soldiers who came over to the democratic forces offered this
          warning to SLORC:  "Do not think that you are supported by
          the military.  Our true allegiance lies with the democracy
          movement.  In 1990 we voted overwhelmingly for the NLD.  If
          SLORC tries another bloody crackdown, those in the military
          will be forced to act against SLORC".

Note: *Major Aung Kyaw led 104 soldiers deflecting from "Sittat" 
            to the western border recently and founded the "Ahmhat-Tit- 
            Myo-Chit-Myanma-Tat" (# 1 Patriotic Burma Army).                       

Western Border