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Burma Says Suu Kyi's Aid Kyi Maung

RANGOON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Burma's military government said on Friday that
Kyi Maung, one of Aung San Suu Kyi's top aides, had resigned from the National
League for Democracy (NLD), although a senior party official denied the claim.

A statement issued by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
said Kyi Maung had stepped down from his role as vice chairman of the NLD,
Burma's main opposition. 

``It is learnt that the Vice-Chairman of the National League for Democracy, U
(Mr) Kyi Maung, has stopped going to the residence of Daw (Mrs) Suu Kyi and
the party headquarters and has not attended the central executive committee
meetings,'' the statement said. 

It cited NLD officials as saying Kyi Maung had a conflict of opinion with the
Nobel Peace laureate and disagreed with Suu Kyi's ``confrontational stance
against the government.'' 

But Tin Oo, co-founder and vice chairman of the NLD, told Reuters that Kyi
Maung had not resigned and had only slowed down his party activities. 

``This is the first I've heard of this,'' Tin Oo said in a telephone interview
when asked to comment on the government statement. ``He is taking a rest
because of his health. We allowed him to do not so much hard work -- he is
nearly 80 years old and he must take it easy.'' 

Kyi Maung, whose telephone line has often been cut off, could not immediately
be reached for comment. 

Diplomats in Rangoon and Bangkok have said they had heard Kyi Maung had been
ill recently, which was why he was not attending recent meetings. 

He has not been seen in public much over the past few months, and has not been
available by telephone. 

Some lower-ranking NLD sources said they had also heard the rumour about Kyi
Maung but did not know if it was true. 

Local political analysts said if it were true, it would be a major setback to
the opposition as Kyi Maung is considered one of the most vital members of the
NLD and its executive board. 

Kyi Maung was in Rangoon's infamous Insein Prison from 1990 to 1995 for his
involvement in the democracy movement and then detained twice after his
release by the military government. 

His last detention, which lasted for five days, was in October 1996 when the
former government -- the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) --
held him for questioning for his role in student protests. 

Kyi Maung, who has spent most of his time at Suu Kyi's house planning NLD
strategy since she was released from house arrest in July 1995, has been a
familiar face at her side over the past few years. 

Immediately after Suu Kyi was released -- only four months after Kyi Maung was
freed from prison along with Tin Oo -- Kyi Maung and Tin Oo joined Suu Kyi in
weekend talks to supporters outside her home. 

Kyi Maung was greeted warmly at the talks and viewed by supporters as a father
figure in the NLD. During the weekend talks, he often had the crowd laughing
as he recounted anecdotes of his time in prison. 

Kyi Maung was party spokesman until Suu Kyi and other top party members were
arrested in 1989. He took over the leadership of the party and led the NLD in
a May 1990 general election which the opposition party won in a landslide. 

Kyi Maung was elected to parliament in that election. But the SLORC refused to
accept the outcome of the election and Kyi Maung was arrested and imprisoned. 


06:37 12-12-97