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NEWS - Vicious campaign initiated

Subject: NEWS -  Vicious campaign initiated in Northeastern Command Zone

BURMA COURIER No. 191           July 18 - 24, 1999


Vicious campaign initiated in Northeastern Command Zone

LASHIO, July 21 (S.H.A.N) -- Shan Herald sources report that Burma's
military have given orders to activate a notorious '4 cuts' operation
against an expeditionary force of Yordserk's Shan States Army in the
North-eastern command zone of the state.

Sources close to ceasefire groups in the area told S.H.A.N. that the
Burmese Army's Northeastern Command in Lashio had issued orders to
liquidate without quarter any villager or headman who was suspected to
sympathize with the SSA, anyone who failed to report its movements in a
given area or anyone who provided misinformation to units of the Burmese

The order is effective in areas of Mong Yai and Tangyan townships
being occupied by the expeditionary force under the command of  Lt-Col
Moengzuen.  The Shan States Army force began moving north in early June
is currently operating in the Mawha - Mawhiang area of Mongyai Township,
and the Loimaw - Mongtawm area of  Tangyan Township.

The operation against the expeditionary force in the two areas is being
carried out by anti-insurgency units made up of guerrillas from the from
the now defunct Mong Tai Army former led by drug lord Khun Sa who
surrendered more than two years ago. But At least six junta battalions
including IBs 41, 68, 326, 332 506 and 507 are being deployed to
search and destroy the Shan force, the core of which is Moengzuen's
758th Brigade. Its strength is estimated from 500 to 900.

The "4 cuts" strategy -- the cutting off of food, funds, recruits and
intelligence sources in areas potentially sympathetic to the aims of
resistance forces -- was first initiated in the 70's during  the era of
Win's control of the military.  In its most recent applications in areas
central Shan state it has led to a campaign of torture and killings and
massive displacement of over 300,000 persons from their homes.

The situation in Mong Yai and Tangyan townships is complicated by the
presence there of troops of the Shan States Army -  North (SSA  - N), a
ceasefire group that is linked to Yordserk's SSA - S.  It has already
forced to move out from positions near the cordoned areas.  According to
source close to the cease-fire group, it has been warned personally by
Maj-Gen Tin Aung Myint  Oo, Commander of the Northeastern Command, not
give any assistance to the expeditionary force.

The SSA - N and the SSA - S fighters wear identical insignias, in
accordance with the pact they signed on 13 September 1996.