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The BurmaNet News, November 10, 199

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: November 10, 1997             
Issue #864

Noted in Passing:

The ... refusal of the Council to unblock avenues for peaceful
self-expression is bottling up ... discontent that may soon ...burst
violently across the land.

-- former Philippine president Corazon Aquino [see IPS:NGOS URGE REGIONAL


November 8, 1997
By V. Jayanth

Singapore (Nov. 7) -- India today offered a $10 million line of credit to
the Union of Myanmar, as a gesture of good will and to promote bilateral
trade and
economic cooperation.

Inaugurating the second Indian Trade Exhibition in Yangon, the Minister
of State for External Affairs, Mr. Saleem I. Shervani, said it would be a
Government-to-Government credit, reflecting the commitment of the government
of India to closer economic cooperation with Myanmar.

Mr. Shervani said ties with Myanmar were going well beyond the bilateral
level, with the eastern neighbour also joining the recently launched
Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation (BISTEC) forum.

He said Myanmar's entry into Asean could also make it India's gateway to
the markets in South-East Asia.

Speaking on the occasion, Myanmar's Minister for Commerce, Lt. Gen. Tun
Kyi, invited Indian investors to take advantage of the opportunities
offered by Myanmar, for investment and trade.

This Indian exhibition is being organised jointly by the Indian Trade
Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the Embassy of India. It is being held
from November 7 to 13 at the famous Tatmadaw Hall in Yangon.

According to Mr. Shyam Saran, India's Ambassador to Myanmar, over 50
Indian companies were participating in the exhibition with a wide range
of products and technology on show. It covered engineering items,
transport equipment, chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, handicraft,
household goods and leather products. The presence of a retinue of
Myanmar Ministers and top military brass in the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC) at the opening ceremony today was a
clear [sign SLORC] valued such Ministerial visits from India, which has been
rare. According to one source, the previous visit was by the then Commerce
Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, who came to inaugurate the first exhibition
in February, 1995.

Among those present today were the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ohn Gyaw, the
Transport Minister Lt. Gen. Thein Win, the Mayor of Yangon, Mr. Ko Lay,
the Quarter Master General of the Armed forces, Lt. Gen. Tin Hla and the
Minister in the office of the Chairman of SLORC, Lt. Gen. Min Thein.

The exhibition is being organised as part of the Embassy's celebrations
of the 50th anniversary of India's Independence. The ITPO and the
Myanmar Investment Commission are holding a seminar on November 10 on
'India Myanmar Trade and Investment Cooperation in the context of
Myanmar's entry into Asean'.

Mr. Shervani, who is on a two-day visit to Myanmar, also called on Lt.
Gen. Khin Nyunt, Secretary-1, SLORC, this morning. The Myanmar Foreign
Minister, Mr. Ohn Gyaw, and the Indian Ambassador, Mr. Shyam Saran, were
present on the occasion.

Discussions centred on bilateral relations and the prospects for increasing
trade and economic relations. The two sides traced the historic relations
between the two countries and wanted the business community to take more
steps to make better use of the border-trade agreement signed two years ago.
The problem on the field, both in terms of infrastructure and the
bottlenecks for enhanced border trade figured in the deliberations.

Mr. Shervani left in the evening for New Delhi, obviously taking back some
very serious suggestions from the military rulers in Myanmar. His visit was
very well received by the generals, but also raised the basic and recurring
question in bilateral ties with this neighbour - Should India set aside its
inherent concerns about a military junta that wants to suppress a
democratically elected political party and continue to do business?

There are two sides to this coin. Myanmar is strategically too important
for New Delhi to ignore just because there is a junta in power. The
activities of some of the terrorist groups functioning in the North-
eastern States, spilling over into the eastern neighbours like
Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand has to be borne in mind, as also the
thrust that China is making into Myanmar.

Traditionally, Indians have supported the prodemocracy groups and the
larger movement of the Myanmarese people. Many Myanmarese have fled to
India since the crackdown on prodemocracy activists in 1988-89 and have
been campaigning for increased support from India.

Instead of putting Myanmar on the back burner till the third trade
exhibition perhaps in the year 2000, it may be worthwhile for India to
evolve a more effective policy for this neighbour.

The posting of Mr. Shyam Saran, who was earlier in Mauritius, was
considered the harbinger for such an approach to Myanmar and he has been
able to put up this fair within the first few months of his functioning
in Yangon.

[related excerpts]
November 7, 1997
Rangoon, AFP

"Myanmar [Burma] has the potential to become a major platform for India both
in terms of trade as well as investment," Ambassador Shyam Saran told
reporters ahead of an Indian trade exhibition.

"We are beginning to look at Myanmar not merely as a one-country market but
also as a possible gateway into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
[Asean] ," he said.

India is already a major trading partner for Burma, purchasing pulses and
timber, and is also looking into buying energy resources, such as natural
gas, Mr Saran said.

"We are looking at the possibility of natural gas supply from Myanmar ... We
have a shortage of natural gas in our country, particularly in the eastern
region." he said.

November 7, 1997
By V. Jayanth

Singapore, Nov, 6. Speaking  to The Hindu from his Yangon hotel, Mr.
Shervani said  "There  has been  a  tremendous response  and  we are looking
towards a new dimension in our relationship.  This visit  is to reinforce
our interest in  Myanmar and I told them  that though they  are not part of
SAARC,  they are a very  important neighbour and  the Gujral doctrine
includes them also."

He   said  that  during  his   meetings  with  the  Myanmar Ministers,   the
question of  Indian  support to  the pro- democracy movement was also
raised. "I told them India is a vibrant  democracy and we do  not just
preach freedom,  but also  practice it.  But India will never allow itself
to be used  by  anybody  to  destabilise  another  country." 


November 7, 1997
Wasana Nanuam - Rangoon

Govt's opponents use Thailand as bases

Burma has called on the Thai army to prevent Burmese minority groups from
using Thai territory as support bases for their activities. 

Gen Chettha Thanajaro, the army chief, said he had agreed to ensure Thai
forces would prevent Burmese minority groups, especially the Karen National
Union, from using Thai soil as bases for their anti-Slorc moves as requested
by first secretary of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt.

Bangkok and the Thai army have a policy not to support any minority groups,
he said after meeting Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt in Rangoon yesterday.

Burmese officials did not find the Thai army's helicopter which went missing
on August 28 in a border area between Umphang and Phop Phra districts of Tak
but Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt said the search operations would continue, Gen Chettha

The Slorc first secretary had also asked him and concerned Thai officials to
closely monitor the future demarcation of the Thai-Burmese border, he said. 

According to Gen Chettha, commander of the Third Army Lt-Gen Thanom
Watcharaput and Burma's southeast commander Maj-Gen Khet Sein reached an
agreement in Myawaddy on Tuesday on the Thai and Burmese armies' cooperation
in suppressing drugs in border areas.

[related excerpts]

November 7, 1997
Wasana Nanuam

Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council, said yesterday there would be major changes in Burma because the
government was overhauling the political and economic system to restore
peace in the country.

"Our political and economic development is half-way through. Cooperation
from other countries, especially Asian neighbours, would help us reach our
goal. After political reform in my country is in shape, we will peacefully.
It's the desire of Asians to see peace in the region," he said.

The Slorc secretary also called on the media to present news about Thailand
and Burma in a constructive manner.


November 4, 1997
Robin Bromby

Brisbane based Pacrim Energy NL is gearing up for a start by April next year
on drilling at two old Burmese oil and gas fields. The company is now
reviewing all seismic data and expects to have its exploration planning
finished by February.
 Pacrim has already signed production sharing contracts with the Myanmar Oil
& Gas Enterprise, the Burmese government agency which controls all
 Block C-1, in the Chindwin Basin, covers 17,000sq km and was operated by
the British owned Indo-Burman Oil Co. before World War 2.
     Until the 1920s, Burma was one of the main oil producers in the world. The
field equipment was destroyed by the British forces during the war to deny
oil to advancing Japanese armies and operations were not re-established
after 1945 because of the post-colonial political uncertainties.
     Managing director Kerry Doble said Pacrim was hopeful the field would
contain about 1 billion barrels of oil. "It's a giant field" he said.
     Pacrim has already sampled oil bleeding from shales on a 80km-long
outcrop. Several small wells are operated along the Chindwin River, having
been sunk by the villagers to the depths of between 30m and 60m into the
shale. Oil and gas seeps occur elsewhere on the block.
     In 1991, the South Korean oil refiner Yukong drilled to 2900m but Mr.
Doble believes the main oil reservoir lies at about 4580m. "We have learnt
from Yukong's mistakes" he said.
     Pacrim is expecting to spend $8 million  on its first exploration well.
To the South , Pacrim is also working on Block RSF-9, which covers 2545sq km
in the Central Basin, Burma's historical oil and gas producing area.
     Overall, the block has been only lightly explored. It contains the
Pyalo gas field, which was suspended five years ago and which Pacrim is
looking at reopening to supply gas to a nearby cement plant. The 50m million
barrel Pyay oil field is also nearby.
      Pacrim is aiming at several known but unseated oil and gas reservoir
formations. Pacrim exploration team includes former MOGE chief geologist U
Gang Lyeng plus four MOGE staffers with knowledge of the fields and who have
been seconded to the Australian company.


November 7, 1997

RANGOON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party is a group
of terrorists that creates anarchy and it should change to avoid a
confrontation, a commentary in Burma's state-run media said on Friday.

The commentary, published in all three of Burma's official newspapers,
accused Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD)
of links with terrorists.

``It is creating instability in all walks of life,'' said the commentary.
``In reality the NLD never accepts democracy...it is democracy in name only.

``NLD has connections with terrorists and accommodates them. Some NLD
members themselves are terrorists,'' it said without elaborating.

The ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has often accused
the NLD of involvement with terrorists both inside and outside the

Over the past few weeks the government has accused the NLD of trying to
destabilise the country by holding unauthorised political gatherings.

On at least two occasions the government forcibly prevented NLD meetings
from taking place in townships outside Rangoon. Police, some equipped with
clubs and shields, set up barricades and carted away supporters who
gathered to meet Suu Kyi and top NLD leaders.

At least eight senior NLD leaders were arrested last week in connection
with the meetings. The SLORC has said four people were detained for

The league lashed out at the government on Wednesday for restricting party
activities and Suu Kyi's movements.

A government statement said Suu Kyi and her party could hold meetings if
they were held in the confines of her compound, which doubles as a party

``The NLD has laid down a wrong strategy to create disturbances instead of
setting up a new democracy nation,'' the commentary said. ``By doing so,
the NLD is losing touch with the people.

The NLD won more than 80 percent of the seats in a 1990 election, but the
SLORC did not recognise the results.

The commentary questioned whether the NLD was acting according to the
wishes of the people who voted for it.

``People who voted for NLD cast their ballots with the belief that the NLD
will uplift their social life and national peace and stability. They did
not vote for NLD to create anarchy and to attack the State Law and Order
Restoration Council,'' it said.


November 7, 1997
Wasana Nanuam - Rangoon

Slorc will also open border for pipe work

Rangoon has agreed to free 99 Thais from Insein prison on Tuesday, says
Thailand's Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Chettha Thanaiaro.

A C-130 helicopter will fly them home. Gen Chettha said he would inform
their relatives of the release date and the venue where they can pick them up.

He said the release of the inmates was top of the agenda during his visit to
Burma yesterday and that he would try his best to negotiate the release of
the remaining 86 inmates.

The first group, 96 of them men, to be released includes the elderly and
HIV-infected people, Gen Chettha said, adding that he would ask the Public
Health Ministry to give assistance.

He said another inmate identified as Klin Thongpachote could be released the
same day if negotiations about the fine are settled prior to the release date.

The man has been serving a prison term for breach of a fishery contract.

The army chief also asked officials concerned to give necessary medicine and
money totalling 26,750 baht to the inmates. The money and medicine were from
their relatives.

Gen Chettha yesterday met Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council, for an hour. His last visit to Burma was
in May when he accompanied Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

Rangoon also agreed to open a border pass in Ban-I-Tong of Kanchanaburi to
facilitate the Petroleum Authority of Thailand's gas pipeline.

Gen Chettha said Lt-Gen Nyunt had approved the PTT's proposal on the opening
of a border pass in Ban-I-Tong so that the Yadana gas pipeline will be
completed next July as scheduled.

The Burmese government will also consider slashing the price of an
additional 100 cubic metres of natural gas it will sell to Thailand per day.

Earlier, Burma had agreed to sell 526 cubic metres of natural gas under the
Yadana gas pipeline project to Thailand.

Slorc had also agreed to cooperate with Thailand in constructing a
land-bridge to link Bokpyin to Bang Saphan district of Prachuap Khiri Khan
for the transport of goods and oil between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand, Gen Chettha said.


November 8, 1997

On 27 Oct 1997, King-light camp, one of the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP)
camps, was attacked by the SLORC troops, LB No (85).  The KNLP has been
under a cease-fire agreement with the SLORC since 1994.  This camp is
situated in the middle of the Kayan area and it was under the control of
KNLP for years before the cease-fired agreement.

It is said that the attack broke out due to SLORC dissatisfaction with the
KNLP because of (1) their participation in the Mae-Tha-Raw-Htar agreement,
(2) the statement of KNLP in August refuting the release of incorrect news
on the internet by the SLORC's people, using the names of cease-fire groups,
and (3) the demand of KNLP, at the 33rd anniversary of Kayan National
Resistance Day which falls on 4th June 1997, for tripartite dialogue.

Recently, tension has emerged between the Shan Nationalities People's
Liberation Organization (SNPLO) and SLORC because three SLORC's battalions
surrounded the Headquarters of SNPLO.

It is learnt that other cease-fire groups share similar concerns.


November 8, 1997

                 KAREN NATIONAL UNION

                       Press Release No.63/97
Regarding the SLORC Offensive against the KNU

November 8, 1997

Battle news for the months of September and October, 1997.

Armed clashes which broke out between SLORC troops and KNLA in respective
brigade areas for the period of 2 months are as follows:

Thaton district, No.1 Brigade Area;
	9 clashes broke out, with 5 dead and 7 wounded on SLORC's side. The 
KNLA suffered 4 dead 1 wounded.

Toungoo and Pyinmana district, No. 2 Brigade Area;
	25 clashes broke out, with 6 dead and 24 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered 1 dead.

Nyaung-lay-bin district. No.3 Brigade Area;
	25 clashes broke out, with 6 dead and 24 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered 1 wounded.

Mergui/Tavoy district, No.4 Brigade Area;
	60 clashes broke out, with 58 dead and 48 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered 1 dead and 2 wounded.

Papun district, No.5 Brigade Area;
	53 clashes broke out, with 25 dead and 69 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered no casualty.

Duplaya district. No.6 Brigade Area;
	16 clashes broke out, with 21 dead and 17 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered no casualty.

Pa-an district. No.7 Brigade Area;
	15 clashes broke out, with 16 dead and 17 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered 1 dead 4 wounded.

103 Battalion in No.6 Brigade Area;
	11 clashes broke out, with 17 dead and 9 wounded on SLORC's side. 
The KNLA suffered 1 dead.

	Summing up, there had been 205 clashes broke out between SLORC's 
troops and KNLA with 161 dead and 206 wounded on SLORC's side, where 
as, the KNLA suffered 7 dead and 9 wounded.

	The KNLA is now waging a widespread defensive guerrilla warfare in it's
base areas. Many P.O.Ws had been captured and some of the SLORC's soldiers
have defected to join the ranks of the guerrillas. Some arms and ammunition
were also captured.


[slightly abridged]
November 5, 1997

BANGKOK, (Nov. 4) IPS - Southeast Asian governments that have adopted a
policy of "constructive engagement" with Rangoon's military regime are
coming under renewed pressure from non-government groups determined to see
democracy restored in Burma. 

Last week in Bangkok and over the weekend in Manila, pro-democracy
campaigners held separate meetings demanding regional governments take a
more aggressive stance against a Burmese military regime that has become
ever more repressive in the past few weeks. 

In Manila on Nov. 2, former Philippine president Corazon Aquino joined
about 100 pro-democracy activists from the region to urge Rangoon's
military rulers to defuse the increasingly tense situation in Burma by
holding talks with popular opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Aung San Suu Kyi. 

"The stubborn refusal of the (ruling) Council to unblock avenues for
peaceful self-expression is bottling up fumes of discontent that may soon
turn noxious and burst violently across the land," said Aquino, who in 1986
was swept to power by a people's power movement that deposed former
Philippine dictator, the late Ferdinand Marcos. 

She warned that regional governments should sit up and take notice of the
outcry of the oppressed Burmese population rather than wait for a "violent
revolution," against the regime which calls itself the State Law and
Restoration Council (SLORC). 

Indonesia and Malaysia are keen to embrace the Rangoon regime's entry, but
more recently, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, have expressed
reservations and this may in part be attributed to the pressure coming from
pro-democracy groups. 

In Thailand in particular, dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
are actively engaged in relief work among Burmese refugees and have offered
platforms for dissident political activists to publicly voice their

"We should not leave matters totally in the hands of governments," says Dr.
 Gotham Arya, chairperson of the Program for the Promotion of Non-Violence
in Thai Society. 

Last week, he joined with other Thai academics and politicians, Burmese
citizens and activists in strongly condemning ASEAN's policy of
constructive engagement with Burma and resolved to lobby against Rangoon's
entry into the regional grouping. 

At a two-day "Alternative ASEAN Meeting on Burma," activists demanded the
right to a say in ASEAN's engagements with Burma, and that they be allowed
to help develop an alternative to the present policy. 

"Constructive engagement means that human rights can take a hike and that
the ASEAN mafia is here to stay," said Augusto Miclat, Jr., Executive
Director of the Philippines-based Initiative for International Dialogue. 

It is not new for pro-democracy groups in the more politically open
countries like Thailand and Philippines to speak out against Burma's
military rulers, however, human rights activists in the more controlled
political climates of Indonesia and Malaysia, too have been speaking out
against ASEAN's policy. 

In July this year, when riots broke out in Jakarta in support of ousted
opposition figure Megawati Sukarnoputri, some protesters carried posters of
Suu Kyi, apparently drawing comparisons between their struggles. 

And in September, when senior Burmese ministers visited Kuala Lumpur for
talks with the Mahathir Mohamad government, they were greeted by hostile
NGOs and a critical press. 

Even in Cambodia, which is yet to become a full fledged ASEAN member, the
Burmese generals got a poor reception from activist groups. In mid-October
in Phnom Penh demonstrators protested against a state visit to the country
by Burmese military leader Than Shwe. Some of the placards at the
demonstration read "Democracy in Cambodia and Burma" and "Suu Kyi, Model for

"The people of Cambodia have had enough experiences of human rights
violations and dictators. We neither need nor want such actions to occur
among our neighbors," said Kem Sokha, Deputy Secretary-General of the
Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party who attended the Bangkok meeting. 

Sokha, who is also Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Cambodia's
National Assembly, described the Cambodian government's hosting of Than
Shwe's visit as shameful. 

It is significant that political opposition in countries around the region
is showing solidarity with Nobel laureate Suu Kyi. Analysts say they
identify Suu Kyi's struggles with their own efforts to democratically end
what has effectively been decades of single-party rule in their countries. 

In Indonesia where the military is closely linked to the political
leadership, Suharto has been president for 29 years and is expected to be
elect for a seventh consecutive term in 1998. 

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has been led by the National Front coalition
since independence in 1957. Mahathir Mohamad, head of the United Malays
National Organization (UMNO) that leads the Front, has been premier since

In Singapore, it has been five years since Lee Kuan Yew turned over the
premiership to Goh Chok Tong though he retains influence as senior
minister. In any case, Goh also belongs to the People's Action Party, which
has governed Singapore since 1959. 

Said a political activist from Indonesia now in Bangkok: "Burma is a
rallying point for all of us to remind our own leaders how frighteningly
similar they are to the generals in Rangoon."

November 8, 1997

New Delhi, Nov. 7: Land mines, international terrorism, human rights,
peace process in West Asia, globalisation of economy and disarmament are
some of the key issues to be discussed at the Socialist International
Council meeting on Monday here. Leaders of Socialist, social democratic
and labour parties from 339 member countries are attending the meeting
at Vigyan Bhavan.

The meeting is also, likely to discuss the crisis in Myanmar and Tibet.

The two-day meeting, held in Asia for the first time, will be
inaugurated by Prime Minister I.K. Gujral. Other senior leaders of
Janata Dal, the only member party in India, are also participating in
the meet. Veteran socialist George Femandes has been kept out of the

Addressing a joint press conference with deputy chairman of Planning
Commission Prof. Madhu Dandavate and information and broadcasting
minister Jaipal Reddy, secretary-general of the SIC Luis Ayala said on
Friday the council would discuss new challenges thrown up by
globalisation and the response of social democrats to the changes.

Asked about the status of former Union minister and Samata Party
president George Femandes, who was one of the pioneers of the socialist
movement in India, Mr. Ayala said the organisation did not recognise any
individual but only a political party.

Moreover, the Samata Party's concept, policy and principles were not in
consonance with the SI.

The Janata Dal has been accorded the observer status, a rare honour
which even the Congress during the Jawaharlal Nehru days was accorded,
he said.

The other dignitaries who would attend the meet included Palestine
Liberation Organisation president Yasser Arafat and former Japanese
Prime Minister Mureyama. Countries as varied as Mozambique, which has
the lowest per capita income of $60 a year, and Norway, which has a per
capita income of $30,000, will also be attending the meet.

About countries still under dictatorships, the secretary-general said
their struggle for democracy was still on and the meeting would also
have delegates from Burma.


November 5, 1997
>From  Oinam  Sunil

Moreh,   Nov,  4:  Trade and business in the border town of Moreh have been
completely paralysed after the burning down of  Myanmar's Namphalong market
by unidentified persons on October  11.  The Indo-Myanmar border has been
sealed since the incident.

The  Kuki National Army (KNA),   a militant outfit which is fighting  the
Myanmarese junta for a separate Kuki homeland inside  Myanmar has already
claimed responsibility for the arson.   Myanmarese authorities  have earlier
alleged the involvement  of Kuki militants and Tamil businessmen in the
Namphalong raid.

Explaining its action, the KNA accused Myanmar's Tamu town chairman,   Mr.
Koung Zan Oo, of making a huge profit by channelling  the funds for Tamu to
Namphalong market. The KNA said funds sanctioned by the Yangon government
for the beautification of Tamu town were diverted to the construction of
Namphalong market complex without  any proper plan.

The Kuki militant outfit has vowed to destroy  the Namphalong  market if it
was reconstructed at its original place by the Tamu town authorities.  The
KNA also appealed to both Manipur and Union governments not to interfere in
its  activities, which it claimed was targeted against Myanmar's  State Law
and  Order Restoration Council (SLORC) regime.

Terming the restriction of entry inside Myanmar to a particular community as
a discrimination and partiality on the part of the Myanmar government, the
KNA alleged the act as a violation of human rights.

The KNA has rejected the Namphalong market and asked the people to stop
shopping at the complex  which is situated just across the Indian border
Gate number 2. The outfit has made the claim in the Indian Press and its
warning includes Indians. Though the KNA is fighting against the Myanmarese
government, it mostly operates on Indian soil.

The  KNA came into prominence in Manipur after the Naga, Kuki clash broke
out in 1992 at Moreh town. The outfit rose to safeguard  the Kuki  residing
here.  It also operated against the Nagas and started imposing illegal
taxes on Indian traders and businessman at Moreh.

Despite the KNA owning up, many, including the Myanmarese authorities, are
still doubtful about the  role of Tamil traders  residing at  Moreh.  There
are  about 5,000 Tamils here.

Mr N. Kumar, general secretary of Tamil Sangam, a voluntary organization of
Tamils here,  has denied the involvement of Tamils in the Namphalong
incident.  He said the Tamils were being blamed for no reason.

He said Tamil traders were keen on improving trade ties with Myanmar and
they have at least initiated three trade programmes  this year.   Mr Kumar,
however, said the new Namphalong  market should be at least one km away from
the international border so that  Myanmarese authorities can take up full
security measures.

On the sealing of the border, Mr Kumar said the Myanmarese were suffering
more because of the move. He also countered the Myanmar authorities charge
against his people saying,  "Why did  not they take up adequate security
measures even after some miscreants tried to torch the market on September 20?"

A Tamil youth, C.  Karupayu, 33, was found dead near the border at Kannang
Veng on the night of Namphalong incident. Though some said the youth was
killed in exchange of fire, Mr Kumar said Kannang Veng, the place where the
body was found, was at least three km away from gate number 2. He said
Karupayu was picked up from his house by armed men at 7.30 pm on October  11
and killed later that night. The Tamil Sangam along with the Moreh Joint
Action Committee have been demanding that the government identify the killers.  


November 6, 1997
>From   Oinam  Sunil

Moreh,   Nov,  5:  Extortion  in the form  of illegal taxes collected   both
by  the  Kuki  militants  and  government agencies  has  become a  major
source of  concern  for the traders in Moreh.

The  Morning Bazaar,  the town's main market,  located near the border gate
number 2, has been operating for many years while  the  Namphalong market
in  Myanmar just  across the border started functioning in April this year.
The distance between  the two markets  is hardly 300  meters.  But, the
prosperous  Namphalong market is  free of militants threat.

Indian traders here find the Namphalong market much cheaper than  the
Morning Bazaar,  where prices of goods are higher because of the illegal
taxes imposed by the Kuki militants. 

The  situation  has  been  made worse by the government agencies, who also
collect their dues from the market. 

Goods  sold  in the  Morning Bazaar  are mostly  of foreign origin  and do
not figure in the list of Indo-Myanmar trade agreement.   Nearly 4,000
people of  the state benefit from this  trade and  it also  solves
unemployment  problem to a great extent.

According to the traders, the difference in prices of goods between  Morning
Bazaar and Namphalong  market ranges from Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 per item.
Businessmen at Morning Bazaar are  forced to sell goods at high prices to
pay the various rebel groups.

This has resulted in huge losses for the country as trading has  shifting to
Namphalong since  April,  "Kuki militants collect  Rs.  10,000 from each
shopkeeper in Morning Bazaar every  year  as  annual  tax  besides  the
regular monthly collection."  says a trader.  There are more than 100 shops
in the market.  Shopkeepers pay nearly Rs.  1,500 per month to  various
groups  ranging from  Kuki militants  to Indian Customs and Police officials.

At  Namphalong  Bazaar, which  was  recently  gutted, a shop-keeper  has to
pay only a  monthly rent of 70 Kyats to the Myanmarese authorities.

The  Morning  Bazaar  commanded  brisk  business  when  the Myanmarese
trading centre  was located  at Tamu  town.  An Indian  trader and to spent
Rs.  32 as Indian police's gate pass,   Rs.  10 to the  Myanmarese
immigration officials as entry fee and Rs. 20 as fare.

Nearly  1,500 people  cross the  border every  day from the Indian side.
"Namphalong has given gain to traders in fare component  and  low prices  of
goods," says  Mr Loitongbam Imobi  Singh of Meitei Council,  Moreh (MCM).
But,  it has affected the trading at Morning Bazaar.

Mr Imobi said Manipuris wanted restoration of normal border trade.   The
border has been  sealed since October 12 after the burning of  the
Namphalong market.  He said  his organization was ready to contribute Rs.
50,000 for the reconstruction of the Myanmarese market.

The  superintendent  of  police,  Chandel,  Mr.  Manglemjao Singh, said  the
situation  would be  normal soon  as his meeting  with the Myanmarese
authorities had been fruitful.


November 5, 1997

YANGON (Nov. 6) XINHUA - Myanmar is making efforts to build more
standardized ships for foreign countries to expand its ship building market
in the region. 

The Myanmar Dockyard Enterprise (MDE), a state-run organization under the
Ministry of Transport, has been building a number of freight vessels for
companies in Southeast Asian countries in recent years. 

The MDE exported the first Myanmar-built ship, a 38-meter sea pollution
control vessel, to Indonesia in August 1995, followed by the second one in
January 1996 which was a 29-meter pusher tug. 

This year, the MDE is contracted to build eight vessels for Singapore and
Chinese companies. 

According to official statistics, Myanmar has built 31 vessels by itself for
cargo and passenger services while having imported 103 vessels in the past nine
years to improve its inland water transport. 

The statistics also show that the country had 721 state-owned vessels for
its inland water transport services and 23 ocean liners and vessels engaged
in overseas and coastal shipping services in fiscal 1996-97 ending March. 

The cooperative and private sectors also ran inland and coastal transport
services with a total of 4,440 vessels, of which 90 percent were operated by the
private sector, it added.


November 7, 1997

MAE HONG SON --Police seized four trucks carrying 2,800 cubic metres of
processed teak wood while they were  heading from the border to the
provincial town and arrested the four  drivers yesterday.

The thousands of planks were being taken from Ho Mong in  Shan State via Ban
Ton Phuneng in Mae Hong Son's Muang district. 

Drivers Suvit and Adisak Phutasiri,  Eknarong Prasertsri and Srinus Somkaew
said the wood was being imported from Burma by SPA Richwood Co but it had no
certificates of origin or other documents.

There have been reports of trees being felled in Thailand and sent to Burma
only to be 'exported'  as Burmese  logs or processed wood.