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Former SLORC Chairman, Saw Maung, d

Subject: Former SLORC Chairman, Saw Maung, dead.

	Former Burmese strongman Saw Maung dead at 68

 RANGOON, Burma (AP)  Saw Maung, the general who headed
 Burma's military junta when it seized power in 1988, died today of
 a heart attack, members of his family said. He was 68. 

 The senior general had been in poor health for a long time. He
 resigned as chairman of the junta in April 1992 for medical reasons.

 An official announcement at the time said his medical condition had
 "become severely impaired by the stress of work and heavy
 responsibilities of the state.'' The report, and the suddenness of his
 resignation, lent credence to widespread rumors that he had
 suffered a nervous breakdown. He was rarely seen in public

 His replacement was Senior Gen. Than Shwe, who still heads the
 junta, officially called the State Law and Order Restoration Council.

 Born in December 1928 in the northern city of Mandalay, Saw
 Maung joined the army in 1949, a year after Burma gained
 independence from Britain. 

 Working his way up the ranks, he became a battalion commander
 with the rank of major in 1967, five years after Gen. Ne Win
 overthrew a democratically elected government and installed
 single-party rule. Saw Maung had a reputation as a Ne Win loyalist.

 From 1975-76, he fought against communist insurgents and ethnic
 rebels along the border with Thailand. In 1976, he became a
 brigadier general, and in 1981 an adjutant-general. He became
 armed forces commander in 1983. 

 As military strongman and a high-ranking member of Ne Win's
 Burma Socialist Program Party, he provided continuity of
 leadership during a succession of short-lived governments that
 followed the toppling of Ne Win's rule in 1988. 

 He was named defense minister in the brief mid-1988 government
 of Sein Lwin, who was forced to step down after ordering troops to
 shoot pro-democracy demonstrators. When Sein Lwin resigned,
 Saw Maung kept the jobs of defense minister and head of the
 armed forces. 

 After more violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators,
 Saw Maung became chairman of the junta that seized power on
 Sept. 18, 1988. He also held the posts of prime minister, defense
 minister and foreign minister in the military regime. 

 He is survived by his wife and three grown children. 

 (AP, 24 July 1997)


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