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The BurmaNet News, October 30, 1997
- Subject: The BurmaNet News, October 30, 1997
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 23:41:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: October 30, 1997
Noted in Passing:
If our soldiers continue to behave so badly, our whole army will lose its
-- Lt Gen Khin Nyunt to army officers (SHAN HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: OCT.
BKK POST: TIGERS ADOPT NEW TOOL OF TERROR
DER SPIEGEL: INTERVIEW WITH DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
BKK POST: PRACHUAB AIMS TO MEND EU RIFT
SHAN HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: OCTOBER 1997 REPORT
BKK POST: TIGERS ADOPT NEW TOOL OF TERROR
October 29, 1997
A long insurgency needs lots of money, and it now appears the Tamil Tigers
are following other separatist movements by funding their activities with
Diplomatic officials have put together a new profile of Sri Lanka's
separatist movement, the Tamil Tigers. It reveals hard evidence that the
group is a terrorist organisation, but also paints the movement as a major
player in international drug trafficking.
This new view of the group known officially as the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, is likely to influence the international view of the
Once tolerated and supported as the voice of a repressed Sri Lankan
minority, the Tamil Tigers have recently come under close scrutiny. They
face tough new sanctions and will find it more difficult to use the many
foreign bases they have established, usually in Tamil communities abroad.
The United States stunned the Tamils and many of its supporters earlier this
month when it officially declared the group a terrorist organisation. As a
result, the LTTE is barred under tough laws from raising money or spreading
propaganda inside the US.
In fact, the US move came after at least three years of debate in the
international community over the legitimacy of the LTTE. Various
international terrorist reports had mentioned the Tamil Tigers since 1994,
mainly because of truck bombs the group has used inside Colombo. Last year,
a single bomb killed 90 people.
But the confirmation that the LTTE is deeply involved in massive drug
trafficking has surfaced more recently.
A diplomatic source involved in a recent study of the Tamil Tigers said the
evidence is overwhelming and clear. "The LTTE is directly involved with the
Burmese regime in making and distributing heroin," said the source.
The investigation uncovered direct proof of close collaboration between
Burma and the Tamil Tigers. LTTE forces are allowed to train at military
bases in southern Burma. In return, they supply couriers for the world-wide
smuggling of Burma-produced heroin.
In recent months, says a confidential report, Tamil drug smugglers with
links to the Tamil Tigers have been arrested in Sri Lanka, India, Australia,
Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Canada.
Tamil couriers have been caught in some cases with forged or stolen
passports. In one drug arrest, German police uncovered a collection of tools
and stamps to make forged passports.
The Tigers exploit - with money, threats or ideology - overseas Tamil
communities, who have contributed to the heroin smuggling. French and
Australian police reported to the diplomatic inquiry that they have
uncovered links between local gangs and Tamil Tigers.
Last November, Indian authorities seized $71 million (2.7 billion baht)
worth of drugs when they broke up a trafficking ring in southern Tamil Nadu
state, home of most of India's Tamil minority. Tamil Tiger militants and
sympathisers both find sanctuary in the Indian state despite government
efforts to root them out.
Diplomats have concluded the Tamil Tigers' independence fight now has become
overshadowed by its outside businesses, first and foremost drugs.
The northern Sri Lankan port of Jaffna and a large pirate fleet maintained
by the LTTE armed forces play a minor role in the anti-Colombo war. But they
play the major part in the Tigers' drug dealing.
Similarly, Tamil Tiger troops who have trained near Manipur, in northern
India, no longer are a major part of the Sri Lanka resistance. Instead, they
have joined forces with Burmese heroin traffickers in the Manipur area.
The Tigers, provide security for Burmese drug caravans from the western
Golden Triangle into India. Several thousand Manipur residents recently
demonstrated against the drug traffickers, closing the Burmese border for
two days in protest.
"The Tamil drug smuggling network has become an integral part of Burmese
drug trafficking around the world," said a Bangkok-based anti-narcotics
officer. "The Tigers are not just profiting from drugs, they've made
narcotics their chief battle more important than the war in Sri Lanka."
Diplomats compared the current Tamil Tigers to Burma's former independence
groups among the Shan. "The Thai Yai once were fighting for independence
from Rangoon, but they got completely involved in drug smuggling and
building their huge profits," said a diplomat in Bangkok.
There is much that still is unknown about the Tamil Tigers. But it appears
the group is also falling off its principles of fighting for the Tamil
minority in Sri Lanka. As more of its narcotics deals are confirmed, it is
likely to lose most of the international support it once had.
DER SPIEGEL: INTERVIEW WITH DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI
September 29, 1997
[BurmaNet Note: This translation was sent to BurmaNet News, and has been
slightly corrected for easier reading. It was originally published in
German in the magazine Der Spiegel]
Q: Madame, in Europe Burma is associated with Aung San Suu Kyi, but still
very little is known about your daily life. What is you daily life like?
ASSK: Busy. I'm preparing for our party congress, although I don't know if
the authorities will allow it to take place. The last two ones were
forbidden, and our delegates were put into prison.
Q: And when there is no party congress in the making?
ASSK: My usual day is made up of political day to day party work. Apart from
that we have a lot of duties ordinary parties don't have. For example taking
of our prisoners and their families, providing legal aid for our people who
are charged unjustly, that means all of them. So we have to do a lot of
social work as well. and we have to keep in touch with the international
Q: Are you allowed to move around?
ASSK: Yes. I visit the party-office in Rangoon. But totally against the law,
SLORC has placed restrictions on who is allowed to see me at my house. The
road is shut off. Visitors are stopped at the barriers and turned away. They
don't like foreign correspondents they don't like some of our elected MPs.
There was a point when they even prevented diplomats from coming to see me,
but lately they stopped that.
Q: But your party colleagues are allowed to come?
ASSK: Some are allowed, some are not. Meeting with people coming from
outside Rangoon takes a lot of my time from day to day.
Q: Do you visit party offices in the country?
ASSK: The last time I decided to go to Mandalay they decided that the
carriage in which I was travelling was out of order and unhitched it. So I
Q: Do you leave your compound for other purposes? Do you go shopping, do you
go to the movies?
ASSK: No, I am not that fond of shopping and I am not such a cinema-goer
either. I haven't been to the cinemas in years. The last time I went
shopping a big crowd gathered, which makes it a little bit difficult. And
also I don't have the time. I only go out for work purposes.
Q: Do you tell the authorities about your plans to leave the house?
ASSK: Usually yes. So the military intelligence is accompanying me with a
car in front and behind of my car. They say, it's for my own security.
Sometimes it's even useful, because they can give me the right directions.
But they do not enter the premises of the person I am visiting.
Q: So, being more or less confined to your house, you don't miss anything
ASSK: Not really, I'm an adaptable person.
Q: You have had, as we understand, to adapt to pretty harsh working conditions
ASSK: Well, the telephone is most unreliable. Of course it is tapped. On top
of that it is cut off very often. We are also not granted the licence for a
fax machine. We are not allowed to xerox things either.
Q: Where do you get your information on the outside world from? Do you listen
to the radio? Do you receive international TV programmes?
ASSK: I do have a TV, but I hardly ever watch it, because I don't have a
satellite dish. So I can see only the Burmese programmes which are not very
useful. There is no way to apply for a licence for a dish. So what people do
is to buy it first and then get the licence. But I am sure that if any of us
uses a satellite dish without obtaining a licence, we would be in trouble.
In any case, I am not a great television watcher. Of course we listen to
the radio. We read foreign newspapers, if people bring them in for us.
Q: How do you contact your family?
ASSK: My family calls me every Sunday evening. But sometimes the telephone
is cut off for two or three weeks.
Q: Madame, communism and dictatorships seem to be disappearing all over the
world. Why not in Burma?
ASSK: It will disappear in it's own time. Communism and dictatorship didn't
disappear all at once in other countries.
Q: The Junta is trying to liberalize the economy. Is it possible that the
desire of the people for wealth will get stronger than the desire for democracy?
ASSK: No, because the Burmese people are not getting wealthy. There is only
a very small elite who are getting very wealthy indeed. We used to pride
ourselves on the fact that there was not such a great difference between the
rich and the poor. This is no longer the case. All these very rich people
have connections with the authorities. But the great majority of the people
in Burma are getting poorer and poorer. The best proof of that is that the
dropout rate at primary schools is rising all the time, because the parents,
especially in the rural areas, are either not able to pay the school fees or
they need the children to work in the fields.
Q: As other countries show, the widening gap between rich and poor is a
normal tendency. Once capitalism under democratic conditions is introduced,
it will diminish.
ASSK: One of the primary reasons for the gap between the rich and the poor
is not the open market economy, but rather inefficient economic planning
and corruption. Civil servants like policemen start with a monthly salary
of 600 Kyats ....
Q: ... which means less than three dollars.
ASSK: If you go to your hotel for a cup of tea you have to pay four.
Ministers get something like 3500 Kyats a month, about 25 Dollars. But if
you look at their living style, then you have to start worrying about this
country. The corruption is rampant. Even in Russia it is not like that.
Q: The Junta wants to introduce a kind of Indonesian system to your country,
which means a market economy and a strong army.
ASSK: So they say. But they should recognise the fact, that we are different
countries with different cultures. I cannot say the Indonesian model will
lead Burma to a better situation, because if you are trying to copy another
country and you do it inefficiently it can be quite disastrous. If SLORC
says: We want our own kind of government, our own kind of democracy, why
shouldn't we go for a German or American model?
Q: What kind of model would you prefer?
ASSK: We should evolve our own way. If the SLORC talks about the Burmese way
of democracy we find that very worrying, because we used to suffer under the
Burmese way to socialism, which changed Burma from one of the fastest
developing nations in Southeast Asia to one of the poorest countries in the
world. Any democracy absolutely must guarantee certain basic rights. Having
acquired these rights we will then evolve.
Q: A lot of Asian leaders declare that western democracy would bring chaos
and anarchy to the region. Do you think that democracy and Asian values
contradict each other?
ASSK: No. Democracy has its roots in human values. Each one of us wants to
be valued as an individual of worth and dignity. The foundation of democracy
is human rights. Human rights is founded on human nature. It's a universal
concept. You should not keep it for either the West, the North, the South or
the East. India is one of the most chaotic nations in the world, but its
democracy has worked. Not despite, but because of democracy they have kept
the nation of so many different peoples and religions together.
Q: What do you feel when, for example, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr.
Mahathir talks about Asian values? Can you understand it or do you find it
ASSK: It is not strange at all. I can understand perfectly well why some people
insist on Asian values. The argument is that democracy is alien to Asia,
because it emerged in the west. But do Burmese or Malaysian or Thai people,
who can afford it, stop themselves from buying televisions, because they
were not invented in Asia? Do they deny themselves the luxury of cars, air
conditioners, because these things were not invented in the East?
Q: Some people in the west sympathise with the kind of authoritarian regimes
of Asia, for instance when the young American was flogged in Singapore
because he damaged cars.
ASSK: This is not Asian values. In England they stopped only quite recently
flogging schoolboys at Eaton. Who says that strict laws are Asian values?
Q: Also business people look at the Asian values with some understanding,
because they think the investment climate is better in an authoritarian regime.
ASSK: Not in the last few months with the currency turmoil. That is the law of
impermanence we Buddhists believe in: things change.
Q: Everybody is talking about business and not about human rights.
ASSK: In Burma a small elite has managed to profit. What we have is not
exactly an open-door economy, it is only open to a few. Those few like to
talk about business. But if you talk to businessmen, who have the courage to
be open, you will find that they are deeply concerned about the situation in
Q: How would you describe the present situation?
ASSK: Bad. We are going down. The economy is in very bad shape, inflation is
rampant. The trade is very sluggish. Our exports have dropped. Our foreign
currency reserves are extremely low. Look at the empty hotels. They are
losing money hand over fist daily. Our new economic package is outlining
some of our ideas on how to solve that problem.
Q: Are you still urging businessmen not to invest in Burma?
ASSK: We would change our mind, if we were certain that the money coming in
really got to the people who need it, that it really benefits our nation,
not just a few people. If the money just makes a few very rich people richer and
richer, you encourage these people to try to prevent change. Change would
mean a deterioration of their situation.
Q: But also normal people are profiting, for example from tourism.
ASSK: I'm not saying that there a not a few who get some of the overflow of
the wealth. But they are very, very few. You cannot cure the ills of the economy
just by making a few people benefit from the overflow of the very, very rich,
because the fundamental situation of the economy is so bad. We always
emphasize health and education. Not the tourist sector. We need healthy and
educated people in order to build and sustain an developed nation.
Q: You need the money first.
ASSK: We are very much worse off in the health and education sector now than
we were eight years ago. It is bad planning, it is lack of concern for the
ordinary people, it all comes down to lack of accountability and transparency.
Q: The generals would argue, we can't develop the health and education sector,
because we don't have enough money. And we don't have enough money because a
certain lady is urging western countries not to invest.
ASSK: What were they doing with the money that came in? We are worse off now
than in the days of Burmese socialism, when there was no foreign business.
Why? Because the system is more inefficient, because there is no proper
planning. Such things are only possible, because we have a dictatorship.
Q: ASEAN has made Burma a full member. It seems that your plea to isolate
the Junta was not heard.
ASSK: We never said not to take Burma. We said that Burma under SLORC would
never be a credit to ASEAN. Secondly we said: Taking Burma into ASEAN would
very likely encourage SLORC to become harsher against the opposition,
because it would gain confidence. If the internal affairs of a country makes
no difference to ASEAN, why did they refrain from taking Cambodia? These are
questions which people are asking.
Q: So why did they take Burma?
ASSK: There are a lot of ASEAN businesspeople, who thought that they would
be able to make a good profit out of Burma. We've been arguing since 1995
that this is a mistaken notion, unless there is a real change Burma will not
be able to make the transition to the kind of economy that would provide
foreign investors with the kind of profits they are expecting. Our priority
is not the profit of the foreign investor, but the well-being of our people.
Q: SLORC is working on a new constitution, but you are not allowed to work
on one of your own.
ASSK: They brought out a new law last year, named 5/96: Anybody who does or
says anything that will in any way hurt the process of the National
Convention can be imprisoned. So if anybody writes and publishes a
constitution, they could possibly say that you deserve a good, tough
Q: SLORC has begun to talk to your party again the other day. Is that a
sign of a more friendly approach towards you?
ASSK: Not yet. It is a little bit early to say that they are doing it in
good faith. The invitations to the chairman of the party were made in a way
which can only be interpreted as an attempt to split the NLD. I say this,
because at the first meeting between NLD-Party-Chairman U Aung Shwe and
General Khin Nyunt, he made the point that I could not be included in
further meetings. They brought up the charge of my having accepted 80,000
Dollars from some US citizen, which is absolute nonsense. We should be
allowed to choose who is going to represent us. It's got to be on equal
terms. Genuine dialogue must be on equal terms.
Q: If Chancellor Kohl called you, what would you tell him?
ASSK: There should be a concerted international action to implement the
terms of the UN Resolution, which for example calls for the early
democratisation of Burma and dialogue between SLORC and us and the ethnic
nationalities. The international community should get together and
coordinate the efforts to implement the terms of the resolution. We want
firmer and better coordinated international action.
Q: There is already a boycott of the United States. If the EU would invite
you, would you go?
ASSK: No, because the generals wouldn't let me back any more. So I have to
wait until we have a democracy.
Q: When do you think that will be achieved in Burma?
ASSK: Soon, I think. But I am not an astrologer. In politics 24 hours can
make a lot of difference or 24 years can make no difference at all.
Q: Are your sons allowed to come to see you?
ASSK: My youngest son is here with me at the moment. He celebrated his 20th
birthday with me. It is the first time in nearly two years that he has been
allowed to see me. He will go to university in England when he gets back. My
other son is studying in the States.
Q: Do you see a future for them in Burma?
ASSK: It is for them to decide. I don't make decisions for them.
Q: Madame, we thank you for this interview.
BKK POST: PRACHUAB AIMS TO MEND EU RIFT
October 29, 1997
Delegation arrives in Rangoon today
Foreign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasan departs for Rangoon today in pursuit of a
compromise between Burma and the European Union by trying to encourage
dialogue between the military regime and opposition leader Aung San Sun Kyi.
As host of the Asean-EU Joint Cooperation Committee next month, the minister
supports Burma's participation as an observer in the meeting which will
review cooperation between the two groupings dating back to 1980. The EU has
threatened to boycott the meeting if Burma is involved.
Mr Prachuab will convey the EU's demand of an 'action plan' from Burma
before it will agree to allow Burma's entry into the Asean-EU cooperation
scheme. Conditions of the plan include significant dialogue between the
State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) and Mrs Suu Kyi, the release
of political prisoners and improvement of Burma's often-criticised human
Mr Prachuab is due to meet Slorc chairman Gen Than Shwe, vice chairman Gen
Maung Aye and Intelligence Chief Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. He will also hold talks
with Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw during his two-day official visit.
Burma and Laos were admitted as members of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations in July, prompting the grouping to include them as a bloc
member in the Asean-EU arrangement. Asean also includes Brunei, Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
Thai Foreign Ministry officials initially ruled out EU pressure, saying
Bangkok would avoid interfering in Burma's affairs. However, Mr Prachuab is
expected to persuade the regime to "take a positive step" towards national
"We [Asean] aim to maintain a key role [to bring about dialogue] and see to
it that that message is conveyed," permanent secretary for foreign affairs
Saroj Chavanaviraj said recently.
But an Asian diplomat expressed doubt over the effectiveness of outside
pressure, saying that talks would lead to a productive outcome only when Mrs
Suu Kyi and the Slorc recognise each other and learn to work together.
"They must learn to co-exist. The NLD needs recognition, credibility and a
period of tutelage to be part of the government," the diplomat said.
Sources confirmed Mrs Suu Kyi and Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo
Siazon had met in private over lunch during President Fidel Ramos' visit to
Rangoon last week.
Mrs Suu Kyi was quoted as reaffirming her "strong position" in agreeing that
dialogue could be started at the lower level, but added that she and NLD's
chairman Aung Shwe must be included in any high-level talks with the Slorc.
The NLD turned down Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt's invitation for a meeting last month
after finding that Aung Shwe and other members were on the list, while Mrs
Suu Kyi was excluded.
Mr Prachuab is also expected to urge the Burmese government to conclude an
agreement on commercial navigation in the upper basin of the Mekong river
shared by Laos and China, officials said.
Some of his 18-member delegation will visit Thai prisoners in Rangoon and
visit Bago, about 100 kms north of Rangoon, where Burma plans to build a new
SHAN HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION: OCTOBER 1997 REPORT
Since mid-October, Commander of the Golden Triangle Special Regional
Command Lt. Gen. Thein Sein issued an order banning all video tapes of Shan
language that are being sold or rented in towns and villages all over
eastern Shan State.
The order says that whoever keeps, sells or rents any video tapes of
whatever foreign movies that have been changed to Shan Language will be
punished. However, video tapes which are changed to Burmese language and
those with their original sound tracks will be allowed to be on the market.
The Shan Language video tapes are mostly those which feature historical
stories and fables from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, imported or smuggled
in and dubbed with Shan Language. This has become a profitable business in
many towns like Taunggyi, Murngkerng, Laikha, Pang Long, etc., over the last
10 years or so.
Concerning the oppression of language, many people complain that it is much
easier to have a chance to learn Chinese or English than to teach or learn
Shan language. In SLORC's eyes, it is as if those who talk about studying
Shan language are going to rebel right away.
BURNING AND KILLING IN MURNGPAN
On 11.9.97, 60 Slorc troops from LIB no.331, led by Capt. Win Maung, were
stationed at Wo Lai village, Wan Tham village tract, Murngpan township, and
were collecting "tax" from cattle traders who were passing through. In the
early morning of the next day, they clashed with about 30 SURA (Shan United
Revolutionary Army) troops who were coming from the direction of Nar Leng
village and heading for Ho Phai village, at a place one mile east of Wo Lai.
The skirmish lasted about an hour during which 4 Slorc soldiers were killed,
including one Lieutenant named Hla Maung. One SURA soldier was wounded.
On 12.9.97, the Slorc troops ordered all the villagers of Wo Lai to move
away and, on 13.9.97, burned down all the 46 houses in the village. One
elderly woman named Mae Thao Par could not leave her house and was burnt
On 14.9.97, they went to Wan Tham village and shot dead 6 villagers,
accusing them of being SURA's supporters, and later burned down all the 6
houses of those villagers. The 6 villagers killed were:
1. Sai Aw Pae Ta, 38 years old
2. Sai Wi Zing Ta, 31 "
3. Sai Mu Ling, 29 "
4. Sai Khat Ti Ya, 37 "
5. Loong Pan La, 48 "
6. Loong Kham Leng, 51 "
RAPE AND MASSACRE IN KUNHING
On 15.9.97, 120 Slorc troops of LIB no.524, led by Capt. Htun Mya,
patrolled the area of Kun Ho Yarn in Kunhing township. When they searched
the forest, they found a group of people who had refused to move to the town
and were staying there hiding in the forest. There were 99 people, including
57 men and 42 women, with Loong Parn La, 53, as their headman.
The Slorc troops gathered them together and photographed them, and told
them that they were allowed to live at the place provided they did not give
any food to SURA troops and reported to the Slorc troops as soon as possible
when they saw any of the SURA troops.
The Slorc soldiers continued to search the area for 2 days and 2 nights.
When they found nothing, they again ordered the villagers to gather in one
place to listen to a speech. This time, however, they tied up all the men
and gang-raped all the women for 2 days and 2 nights.
After that, all the 99 villagers were said to have been killed by the
SLORC COMMANDER SEIZES CIVILIAN'S HOUSE
Tactical Command's Vice commander Than Aung forced Loong Aw Ta, a townsman,
to pay "tax" for having a house in the town of Murngsart in the amount of
300,000 Kyat. When Loong Aw Ta built his house 8 years ago, it had cost him
only 200,000 Kyat. It was a 2-storey, 3 compartment, teak-wood house. SLORC
commander Than Aung threatened to confiscate the house if Loong Aw Ta
refused to pay the tax or sell it to him for only 30,000 Kyat. Loong Aw Ta
had no choice but to sell it at a giveaway price instead of letting it be
Later, Than Aung sold the house for 700,000 Kyat to a Chinese trader named
Lao Li Saen, who came from China via the border towns of Muse, Kiu Khok or
Namkham in northern Shan State.
Loong Aw Ta, being very upset, has now moved away to Taunggyi.
BEATING, RAPING AND BURNING IN MURNGPAENG
On 6.9.97, about 60 Slorc troops from IB no.43, led by Capt. Ohn Myint,
ransacked Huay Kharn village, Murng Poo Awn tract, Murngpaeng township. They
asked the village headman Aw Zing Na, 39, whether the villagers had given
any food to SURA members during this month. When Aw Zing Na told them that
he had never seen any Shan soldiers since after the MTA surrender (in early
1996), the Captain accused him of being quarrelsome and beat him up until he
fainted 5-6 times.
The Slorc troops then gathered all the villagers together and chose out 11
young women, aged between 15 to 18 years, and raped them. The Captain also
raped Nang Mya Kyi, Aw Zing Na's wife, and ordered her to show him all their
valuable belongings, gold and money if she did not want her husband dead.
But Nang Mya Kyi was able to produce only 500 Kyat of money, saying that was
all she had.
On 8.9.97, the Captain then ordered headman Aw Zing Na to tell all his
villagers to move to Murng Poo Awn village tract within 3 days. While the
villagers were moving, the soldiers went around the village and took what
they wanted and the Captain raped one woman after another during that time.
On 11.9.97, the Slorc troops burned down all the 37 houses in the village.
RAPE IN MURNGTON
On 26.9.97, a company of Slorc troops from IB no.277 returned to Murngton
from patrolling the countryside, but could not reach the town before dark
and had to separate and camp on the outskirts of the town. Capt. Khin Maung
Nyunt and his group camped at a nearby village of Pha Khe, Huay Sai village
tract. Around midnight, Capt. Khin Maung Nyunt went into the house where
there were only a young woman Nang Seng, 18, and some children because their
parents had gone to tend their farms and stayed over night. He raped Nang
Seng all night and left for the town early in the morning.
As soon as the Slorc soldiers had left, Nang Seng went to their farm and
told her parents about it. Her parents then went to Murngton and complained
to the Battalion Commander Col. Aye Thant about the raping of their
daughter. The Slorc commander then called Nang Seng to their base, lined his
men up, and told Nang Seng to pick out her rapist. Since Capt. Khin Maung
Nyunt had been deliberately left out somewhere and was not included in the
lineup, Nang Seng could not find him.
Commander Aye Thant then accused Nang Seng and her parents of trying to
defame his man and the army and scolded them, and forced them to pay 15,000
Kyat as compensation.
RAPE DURING FORCED RELOCATION IN MURNGSART
On 2.10.97, Slorc Commander of IB no.49 Lt. Col. Myo Thant in Murngsart
summoned the village headman Saw Nan Ta and some village elders of Waeng
Nur, north of the town, to the military base and ordered them to move their
villagers to near Murngton-Murngsart motor road, near the town and Pa Sak
village. The period allowed for the move was 7 days. Waeng Nur village
consisted of 245 households. He explained to the villagers that if they
moved near the main road and the town they would have access to electricity
and they would not have to be afraid of the danger of SURA soldiers any more
because they would be near the military base and it would be easy for the
Burmese soldiers to protect them.
And thus, on 3-4.10.97, all able-bodied young men of the village went to
the relocation sites to build shelters before they moved their families and
belongings. During that time, 25 soldiers from Slorc LIB no.333, disguised
as rebel troops, came into the village and raped the women they could catch,
sparing no one, married or unmarried.
At one of the houses, there was an old man named Loong Pan Ta, 60, who had
very poor eyesight and hearing and had difficulty moving and walking. He and
his grandchild, a girl of 14-15, were in the house when some Slorc troops
entered and said something to him. The old man gestured that he could not
see or hear very well, so they ordered his grand child to open the bed room
door, saying that they had to look inside and that they were Shan soldiers
who had just moved down from the north and spoke a different dialect. But,
though they wore different uniforms, their firearms were of the Slorc army,
which no other armed groups possessed. As soon as the girl went into the bed
room, the soldiers followed and raped her in the bed room. Though she
screamed and struggled and called for help, no one could help her, let alone
her disabled grandfather. Altogether more than 20 women had been raped this
When the men returned and were informed about it, they went to LIB no.333
base and made a complaint to the commander. The commander then lined 80 of
his soldiers up and told the women to point out their rapists. Since the
rapists were deliberately not included in the lineup, the women were not
able to do so. The commander tried to extort money, but dismissed the
villagers after they apologised many times.
KILLING OF FORCIBLY RELOCATED VILLAGERS IN MURNGPAN
Villagers of Nar Paw who had been forced to move to Wan Sar Lar in Murngpan
township could not earn a living because there was no arable land in the
vicinity of Wan Sar Lar. Therefore, some of the villagers had managed to
obtain written permission from the Slorc commander at Wan Sar Lar and went
to farm a place where Nam Pang Kharm stream ran into the River Salween.
On 8.10.97, about 80 Slorc troops from LIB no.332, led by Maj. Aung Han,
came to the place and rounded up the villagers who were staying for a few
days to tend their farms. The soldiers beat up and tortured the villagers
while asking about the rebels, but the villagers did not know and could not
tell them anything. So they killed all the villagers, 9 men and 5 women, and
for some reason only one 8 year-old boy was spared. When they asked the boy,
he said his parents were not among those killed, they had gone back to their
village to get food. The soldiers waited for 2 days but the boy's parents
did not turn up, so they sent a message to IB no.65 to come and take the boy
and find his parents for him. The boy ran directly to his parents' house
when he was taken to his village.
It was said that when the soldiers surrounded them, the villagers showed
them the written permission, but they said that they were illegal and not
effective in the area under their control and finally killed the villagers.
SLORC COMMANDER SPEAKS IN MURNGPAN
In early July 1997, the Commander of the no.3 Tactical Command and LIB
no.332 Lt. Col. Kyi Myint summoned all the headmen and community leaders of
the villages that had been relocated to Murngpan town, and the headmen of
the quarters and community leaders in the town to the assembly hall at the
base of LIB no.332 in Murngpan. There he launched into a long tirade,
accusing the people of supporting the Shan resistance movement. Finally he
gave them one last warning, "From now on, if our Intelligence hears that any
of you secretly contact the rebels or give food to them, there will never be
anything like questioning, inspecting, arresting and trial under the law.
There will only be one decision made under the front line Tactical Command,
and that is, frankly, death. There will be no reason or excuse like before
when people used to say that they were afraid of all armed groups and
had to do what they ordered; like a sword, they not only had to be afraid of
the edge, but also the blade and the hilt. Words like these will not do you
any good any more, we will not listen to such things any more. Any
authorized officers in the army or the militia can do the killing without
reporting to their superiors if they know, see or hear that someone has
contact with or supports the rebels."
According to some villagers, some Slorc army officers even said to them,
"Burmese soldiers and Shan soldiers are quite different. We often heard the
Shan soldiers say they need to kill the Burmese soldiers and their
supporters, but in reality they don't have the courage and ability to do
that. But the Burmese soldiers don't say much, they just act. And when they
said they say they'll do something, they really do it."
Since then, a night curfew was imposed and, up to September, not less than
15 people have been killed by the Slorc soldiers.
EXTORTION AND SWINDLE IN MURNGNAI
In Murngnai town, there was a big 2-storey house built of teak wood with a
corrugated iron roof owned by a Shan-Lahu man named Khin Maung. He was a
relative of the late Lahu leader Sao Fah Noi in Murngton. He had moved to
Murngnai where he got married and built the house there over 6 years ago.
Recently, around early September 97, a Chinese man named Yi Sarng who had
just moved to Murngnai from Lashio, originally from China, began eyeing the
house, thinking of opening it up as a shop. He then approached Maj. Khin
Than Aye of Slorc IB no.64 who promised to buy the house for him.
The Major then accused the house owner of dealing in illegal drugs and
searched the house and found 100 tablets of amphetamine (which were said to
be planted by the soldiers on his order). He asked the house owner to pay 2
million Kyat if he did not want to go to jail or sell him the house for
15,000 Kyat. Since the owner did not have 2,000,000 Kyat and did not want to
be imprisoned, he had to give up his house for only 15,000 Kyat, and went to
live in a makeshift hut with his family on the edge of the town.
Maj. Khin Than Aye later sold the house to the Chinese man at the price of
800,000 Kyat, and also got 5% commission (40,000 Kyat) for acting as a
broker. The house is currently said to be opened as a shop, selling
different kinds of merchandise from China.
EXTORTION IN MURNGSART
On 24.9.97, 2 gem traders Nang Seng Wan and Sai Thun who brought some
gemstones from Murngkut, the famous ruby mine in northern Shan State,
stopped for a night at their friend Sai Ing Ta's house in Murngsart where
they had often stopped many times before. They were on their way to sell
their precious stones, of which the purchase price was 300,000 Kyat, at Nong
Ook, a border town in Thailand.
At night, when Slorc troops made a surprise check for "illegal guests",
they were arrested with their host. The rule is that the responsible person
of a house is required to report to concerned Slorc officials if he/she has
any guests staying overnight at his/her house, or face punishment. The Slorc
soldiers searched the house and found some low quality gemstones worth a
few thousand Kyat.
On the morning of 25.9.97, they pretended to searched the house again and
produced 100 tablets of amphetamine -- an event said to be framed by the
Slorc troops themselves -- and accused the gem traders and their host of
dealing in illegal drugs. After they found the amphetamine tablets, the
soldiers ordered the house owner to pay 300,000 Kyat and the gem trader
150,000 Kyat each for their release, otherwise they would be sent to
Kengtung on the next day.
Having no choice, the 3 victims had to find the money, by selling their
valuables and borrowing from friends, and gave it to Commander Myo Thant of
IB no.49 on the night of 25.9.97.
MASSACRE IN MURNGPAENG
On 16.9.97, about 100 troops from Slorc IB no.43 and 50 civilian porters,
led by Capt. Aung Zaw Htun, made a search in the area of Murng Poo Awn,
Murngpaeng township. At a place 4 miles south of Murng Poo Awn village, some
villagers had farms and were staying overnight at their farmhouses.
Altogether 63 people -- 38 men, 24 women and four 12 year-old children --
stayed in 5 farmhouses with Loong Khat Ti Ya, 57, as their headman.
The Slorc troops shot all of them and proclaimed that they had killed a
group of SURA troops.
WA, PALAUNG AND LAHU
HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
On 2.9.97, Slorc troops from IB no.246 led by Col. Thura Sein Thaung
arrested 12 villagers who went to work on the farms at Huay Sai Lao in
He made the villagers pay 1,000 Kyat each for their release and ordered his
soldiers to destroy all the paddy plants in the farms.
On 1.9.97, at 10:30 hrs., SURA troops from no.958 Brigade, 159/155
Battalion clashed with Slorc troops of IB no.66 at a place near Nam Tok old
village in Namzarng township. The fighting lasted about 15 minutes and 8
Slorc troops were killed and 13 wounded.
On 2.9.97, Slorc troops of LIB no.422 shot dead Sai Saw San, 29, son of
Loong Wa Ling & Pa Saw Thi, of Luk Long village, Wan Tong-Kaeng Lom tract,
On 9.9.97, Slorc troops of no.66 arrested 2 women from Murng Yung area,
Namzarng township. They raped the women and eventually shot them to death.
The names of the women are not yet known.
On 14.9.97, SLORC's LIB no.422 ordered the local leaders in Kaesee township
to remove all the fences and enclosures of the farms and fields in the area.
Though the local people pleaded for mercy, the Slorc troops themselves
destroyed many fences and paddy plants.
"SLORC TOP BRASS SPEAKS"
Even top ranking Slorc commanders once in a while have to acknowledge the
misbehavior and brutality of their commanders and troops towards the
civilian population, especially in the rural areas which they call front
lines, as was evident in the speech given by Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt at a
meeting of army battalion and division commanders at Yangon Division
assembly hall on 6.8.94.
THE SPEECH OF LT. GEN. KHIN NYUNT WAS AS FOLLOWS:
"Today I have called all you officers together to talk about the current
lack of discipline in the army. I have heard how all of the officers in the
army, both at the front line and the base line are failing to do their duty,
and are becoming corrupt. Those of you attending this meeting doubtless
already know about this. But I guess you don't want to talk about it. Why
aren't you doing anything? The main problem is that some officers at the
front line are failing in their duty. Some soldiers at the front line have
made an understanding with the enemy and taken bribes. Some soldiers have
even reached such a level of understanding with the enemy that they are
playing football with them. This is totally unacceptable. How will the enemy
respect us or be afraid of us if we do this? If they are not afraid of the
tatmadaw troops, then they will continue their oppression of the villagers.
I don't want to hear of soldiers who were born and grew up in this country,
and who have lived off the state's payroll, acting so irresponsibly ever
again. What about the mottos that you have to recite every day: We pledge
loyalty to the people of the state; We pledge loyalty to our fallen
comrades; We will dutifully fulfill orders from above; I will give my life
for my country, my people and my tatmadaw. Have you completely forgotten
your vows? Our duty is to serve our country, not simply to play games. To
get rid of the country's enemies is the duty of our army. The front line
troops should treat their enemies like fire or the sun. If they surrender,
you should treat them well, like water or the moon. The insurgents who
continue to exist can do so because of the understanding with our soldiers
in some districts. Some soldiers, when they arrive at villages, they
terrorize and rape the pretty women. Some soldiers enter villages and demand
money that they have not been ordered to collect. I don't want all of the
fish in the boat to go rotten, just because of one rotten fish. If our
soldiers continue to behave so badly, our whole army will lose its
reputation. If the army is strong, the country will be strong. I don't want
the military to have a bad reputation. It is your duty to control the troops
under you and take care of them. You will have to take action and punish any
soldiers or any commanders who behave badly. If we want to build up our
country, the military must be strong. We must punish the bad, and reward the
good. That is all."