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BurmaNet News: October 15, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________October 15, 2000   Issue # 1640__________

*Asiaweek: Schools have reopened and Ne Win's wife, Ni Ni Myint, is 
*DVB : SPDC closes universities & colleges
*Reuters: Burma threatens "meddlesome diplomats" 
*Jane's Intelligence Review: Myanmar's forgotten minefields
*The Nation: Drug programme extended

*Kyodo: U.S. urges Myanmar's Wa not to proceed with relocation
*Bangkok Post: UNITED NATIONS - Top refugee official to see border camp
*The Star (Malaysia): Myanmar skipper jailed and fined

*Free Burma Coalition Minneapolis: Divestment Passes in Minneapolis			
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Asiaweek: Schools have reopened and Ne Win's wife, Ni Ni Myint, is happy 

OCTOBER 20, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 41 


Something wonderful happened in Myanmar recently: The nation's 
universities reopened. They have been functioning normally since June 
after being shut down by the ruling military junta in late 1996 
following student protests. Young Burmese are now thronging the 
campuses, chattering, flirting, riding their bicycles, taking 
photographs ù and, yes, even studying. At the University of Yangon, Ni 
Ni Myint, director of the Historical Research Center, gazes across the 
sun-dappled lawns and tree-lined lanes of the busy campus. "I am so 
happy that the students are back at last," she says. "Since 1988, the 
universities have been open on and off and I was very sad about it. I 
hope they stay open now." 

The decision to reopen the schools may be an acknowledgment of the 
importance of educating the younger generation, but it is also an 
indication of the junta's confidence that it is in control. The campuses 
have long been a hotbed for antigovernment agitations. Students were at 
the center of a massive popular uprising against then-strongman Ne Win 
in 1988 and thousands of them joined dissident Aung San Suu Kyi's 
National League for Democracy. The NLD swept the national elections in 
1990, but the current regime refused to honor the results and put Suu 
Kyi under house arrest. 

The standoff between the junta on one side and Suu Kyi and the students 
on the other has continued ever since. But now, with the NLD weakened by 
defections and detentions, and the students themselves willing to 
compromise, the junta may have decided that the time was right to open 
the university doors again. 

Not that the grip has been totally relaxed. To ensure the students are 
kept in check, the rulers have taken elaborate precautions. They noted 
how other capitals ù such as Seoul, with its long history of violent 
student protests ù located their new universities far from the city 
center. And they observed how their ASEAN colleagues in Brunei, Malaysia 
and Singapore depoliticized their student bodies ù notably Kuala Lumpur, 
whose Colleges & Universities Act effectively bans all mass political 
activity without official permission (rarely given). So the junta 
followed suit, building new campuses in the countryside and laying down 
stiff rules for extracurricular activities. 

Some 7,000 graduate students now pursue their studies in the capital's 
central campus, where Ni Ni is based. The potentially more antsy 
undergraduates have been relocated to two far-off campuses, about an 
hour from Yangon. "We are not expecting any trouble," says Deputy 
Education Minister Myo Nyunt. "The students are quite happy to be back." 
One of them agrees: "I'm glad not to be working in a department store 
anymore. I'm happy to be back studying." 

Ni Ni too is elated that she will once again be interacting with 
students. "My husband did not like me to get involved with students," 
she says. "He did not understand that I wanted to teach so much." Her 
husband is none other than Ne Win himself, who seized power in 1962 and 
ruled Myanmar with an iron fist for three decades. One of his first acts 
as dictator was to suppress a disturbance at the University of Yangon 
and shut down the campus for a year, setting a precedent for the 
numerous school closures in the intervening decades. Thus the reopening 
has a special resonance for Ni Ni, who is now estranged from her 

Ni Ni is currently working on a multivolume modern history of Myanmar. 
She remarks: "Some say: 'Oh, Ni Ni, the wife of Ne Win, she must be 
rewriting history.' I get very angry when they say that. It will be 
balanced and objective." 

As for the students, they seem to have been pacified in the short run. 
They are not likely to be enticed into political activity if it will 
jeopardize their degrees. On the other hand, their minds are becoming 
active once again ù they are mingling together, talking to one another, 
sharing thoughts and ideas. In a Yangon cafeteria last month, when Suu 
Kyi appeared on CNN news, a student quickly turned up the sound; his 
peers fell silent and they all listened avidly. It is not hard to see 
where their thoughts might lead.


 DVB : SPDC closes universities & colleges

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 13th October 

It has been learned that Dagon university, culture university, and 
teachers training colleges have been closed yesterday, 12th October, 
under the emergency act because anti-SPDC [State Peace and Development 
Council] government wall posters were found posted to the walls. DVB 
[Democratic Voice of Burma] correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed this 

[Myint Maung Maung] The wall posters were about opposition to SPDC's 
modern education system and administrative machinery and the call for 
freer university education system. The posters were peeled off by 
Rangoon Division Riot Police at about 1130. Rangoon Division Deputy 
Police Special Branch and special branch officials are investigating the 
incident and are spread out in the campuses. At about 1300 [local time], 
Maj-Gen Khin Maung Than, chairman of Rangoon Division Peace and 
Development Council, ordered the university and colleges closed under 
the emergency act. Riot police and security forces are spread out at the 
campuses and no one is allowed to either enter or leave. Because of 
rumours of a student protest at Dagon university and culture university 
on 29th September, tight security was imposed at the universities till 
8th October. Although they made thorough checks in and around the 
campuses the situation remains clear so the riot police were withdrawn 
on 9th October. A Rangoon resident stated today that the wall poster 
appeared after the riot police left.


Reuters: Burma threatens "meddlesome diplomats" 

By Aung Hla Tun 

Bangkok (14.10.2000) - Burma's military government warned United States 
and British diplomats on Saturday against meddling in its internal 
affairs and suggested they could be thrown out of the country if they 
did not behave. 

In their second official broadside against Britain and the United States 
in two days, the ruling generals accused envoys from Washington and 
London of supporting Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition 
National League from Democracy (NLD). 

The Kyemon newspaper, regarded as an official mouthpiece of Yangon's 
military authorities, said the diplomats had visited the homes of NLD 
leaders no less than 30 times between September 2 and 13.  
"Those under the guise of diplomats are distributing false information 
and news to the BBC, VOA (Voice of America) ... broadcasting stations, 
which are stooges of the colonialists and nests of Burmese exiles," said 
the paper. 

"It is common practice to declare meddlesome diplomats and those who are 
engaged in espionage as 'persona non grata'," the newspaper said in a 
two-part commentary. 

Kyemon and other Burmese newspapers usually reflect official views and 
concerns but threats published by them are often not followed by 
official action. 

US and British diplomats were not available for comment. 

The Burmese government has become increasingly frustrated by the 
activities of Suu Kyi and the NLD in recent months since the opposition 
party stepped up a campaign to highlight its demand for democracy and 
human rights in the impoverished country. 

Suu Kyi, 55, has been under de facto house arrest in her home in Yangon 
since September 22 when she was prevented from travelling by train to 
Mandalay to meet party members. 

Since then she has had her telephone cut and diplomatic access barred, 
local residents and diplomats say. 

The only person allowed to see her has been UN special envoy Razali 
Ismail, who met her twice this week during a four-day visit to Burma 
aimed at easing political tensions. 

Other NLD leaders have been detained or kept locked in their homes and 
the military has issued a series of pronouncements through its 
newspapers suggesting it may be planning a decisive crackdown to silence 
its opponents. 

Landlords have also served the NLD with an eviction notice to vacate its 
offices in Yangon, sparking fears for the future of the party.  
"The situation is really extremely bleak," one diplomat said this week.  

"The NLD's leaders have been silenced, a lot of key people have been 
arrested, and they may lose their headquarters. There is really nothing 
to be positive about at the moment." 

An official commentary carried in two official newspapers on Friday said 
the NLD, which won elections by a landslide in 1990 but has never been 
allowed to govern, was being controlled by US and British

"Diplomats of the international colonialist group are giving 
instructions on the affairs of the party and this is against the 
political parties' registration law," the newspapers said.  
"The persons called diplomats from the US embassy and British embassy 
are attentively and earnestly arranging things for and giving 
instructions on political and organisational activities of the political 
party which is opposing and attacking the incumbent government of the 
state." - Reuters


The Nation: Drug programme extended

Oct 13, 2000.


THE United Nations will extend by two years its alternative development 
project in one of Burma's prime opium growing areas under the control of 
the ethnic Wa army, PM's Office Minister Jurin Laksanavisit told 
reporters yesterday.  

Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the UN Drug Control and Crime 
Prevention, informed Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai of the decision during 
a meeting yesterday, Jurin said.  

The five year plan, which was fully implemented last year at a cost of 
US$15.5 million (Bt668 million), is targeting an opium producing area 
covering about 200,000 hectares and involving about 260 villages, or 
6,250 households. The territory is controlled by the United Wa State 
Army (UWSA), described by the US government as the world's largest 
drug-trafficking organisation.  
The UN-sponsored project, situated in lower Burma's Shan State, covers 
only a small portion of the Wa-controlled area.  

Nevertheless, said Col Kyaw Thein, a senior member of Burma's powerful 
Office of Strategic Studies, the UWSA has committed itself to making the 
area under its control opium free by 2005.  

The Wa-controlled area stretches along Burma's northern border with 
China down towards territory adjacent to Chiang Mai.  

The UNDCP also provides support to opium eradication programmes 
initiated by local communities in the northern Wa and Kokang regions, as 
well as providing irrigation systems, high-yielding rice seed and 
improving access to roads.  

Thai drug officials, on the other hand, said more attention needs to be 
given to the drastic increase 
in the production of methamphetamine pills, millions of which are being 
produced cheaply in Wa-controlled areas and flooded into Thailand on a 
weekly basis. 

Jane's Intelligence Review: Myanmar's forgotten minefields

October 1, 2000

Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan compiled the Myanmar chapter of the Landmine  
Monitor Report 2000. Andrew Selth is the author of 'Transforming 
theTatmadaw: The Burmese Armed Forces Since 1988'. 

On the subject of landmines, media attention is rarely focused on 
Myanmar. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan and Andrew Selth examine the country's 
manufacture and indiscriminate use of mines and IEDs. 

THERE ARE an estimated 120 million-plus uncleared anti-personnel (AP) 
landmines around the world, scattered through more than 60 countries. In 
all the literature produced on this subject to date and in discussions 
of the problem in international forums, mention is rarely made of 
Myanmar (formerly Burma). This is despite the fact that anti-personnel 
landmines have been, and are still being, manufactured and laid in large 
numbers in that country. Indeed, the number of landmine casualties now 
surpasses Myanmar's mine-affected neighbour, Cambodia, which has been 
the subject of much greater world attention.

Landmine use in Myanmar

The use of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has been a 
feature of armed conflict in Myanmar since it regained its independence 
from the UK in 1948. Before the 1960s, fighting between the Myanmar 
armed forces (Tatmadaw) and the country's many ideological, ethnic and 
religious insurgent groups was bitter. There has also been a 
long-running war between the Myanmar armed forces and a number of 
narcotics-funded private armies. All sides, however, found it difficult 
to obtain regular or plentiful supplies of modern munitions. This 
prevented the extensive use of commercially produced landmines and 
forced the protagonists to rely more on IEDs. These still resulted in a 
large number of casualties, but they tended to be less effective and had 
more limited operational lives.

After the 1960s, landmines became easier to obtain, and their rate of 
usage increased. The Tatmadaw was able to obtain supplies of AP and 
(probably) anti-vehicle (AV) mines from its own arms factories, 
established with German assistance during the 1960s and 1970s. After the 
military coup, led by General Ne Win in 1962, Myanmar still received 
modest shipments of munitions from friendly countries like the USA. 
These almost certainly included supplies of landmines. 
Around the same time, China increased its supply of arms (including 
landmines) to the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) guerrillas on Myanmar's 
northeastern border. Other insurgent groups were able to purchase 
landmines on the black market in Thailand, and reportedly from members 
of the Thai armed forces and police. The insurgents financed these deals 
by selling precious stones, jade and narcotics, or by taxing 
cross-border trade.

Myanmar's two paramount intelligence agencies, the Office of Strategic 
Studies (OSS) and the Directorate of Defence Services Intelligence 
(DDSI), claim that landmines are no longer being used by the Myanmar 
Army as there is no need for them.

The Myanmar government's website seeks to portray the civil war as a 
thing of the past, stressing that many of the armed insurgencies have 
collapsed or that they have entered into a cease-fire agreement with the 
central government. While the CPB did collapse in 1989, and notorious 
drug lord Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army (MTA) surrendered in 1996, other 
armed groups have yet to secure more than a verbally agreed and tenuous 
cease-fire. Like the Mon National Army, they keep their arsenals and 
maintain their right to continue armed struggle if negotiations do not 
work out.

Other groups like the Karen National Union and its armed wing, the Karen 
National Liberation Army (KNLA), which have never entered into a 
cease-fire agreement with Rangoon, are portrayed by the government as 
weak and marginal with little capacity for military operations. 

Despite these official denials, the manufacture and use of anti- 
personnel landmines in Myanmar has grown significantly in recent years. 
The Tatmadaw appears to be placing increasing reliance on landmines to 
defeat insurgents, perhaps capitalising on the greater availability of 
modern AP mines from a new factory built in central Myanmar with Chinese 
assistance about two years ago.

Mines are being used extensively against the KNLA in its areas of 
operation in both Kayah State and the Taninthayi Division, against the 
Shan State Army (SSA) within Shan State, and against the Karenni Army in 
Kayan State.

The Na sa ka, a special division of the Tatmadaw engaged in operations 
along Myanmar's border with Bangladesh, maintains an extensive minefield 
virtually the entire length of the land frontier. This minefield has 
claimed numerous civilian and military casualties. Further north, along 
Myanmar's border with the northeastern states of India, the Tatmadaw has 
also laid mines as part of its counter-insurgency operations against the 
Chin National Army.

The insurgent groups are also using landmines and IEDs more than before. 
In particular, the KNLA is relying heavily on them in its operations 
against the Tatmadaw, prompted in part by the fall of the Karens' fixed 
bases at Manerplaw and Kawmura in 1995 and the KNLA's subsequent 
reversion to mobile guerrilla tactics. Landmines also make up for their 
inferiority in numbers and arms, especially since the split in the KNLA 
(which produced the pro-Rangoon Democratic Karen Buddhist Army in 1994) 
and the introduction by the junta of a massive military expansion and 
modernisation programme.

Methods and results

Landmines and IEDs have been used by all military forces in Myanmar, for 
both offensive and defensive purposes. As a general rule, the scarcity 
of resources has not permitted the mining of large tracts of land, but 
mines have been laid outside the perimeter of both permanent and 
temporary camps to warn of approaching enemies and to defend against 
attack. They have been widely used along lines of communication, such as 
railways, roads and pathways, to hinder the movement of troops and 

Landmines have been used to deny territory to the other side and to 
prevent the use of routes across the international border. Mines have 
also been laid to encourage local villagers either to leave particular 
areas, or to stay away from villages that have already been cleared or 
destroyed. The latter policy seems to be part of a deliberate and 
widespread campaign by the Myanmar Army to resettle local populations in 
an effort to deny insurgent groups food, funds, recruits and 

As a result of all these developments Myanmar has suffered a large 
number of casualties from landmines over the years. Reliable statistics 
are difficult to obtain but, according to the US State Department, in 
the early 1990s casualties from landmines were thought to account for 
about 15% of all military losses in Myanmar. 

Combatants have not been the only ones killed or maimed. So have many 
local villagers, particularly in the border areas where the fighting has 
lasted longer and usually been the most vicious. In 1993 it was 
estimated that each year in Myanmar over 1,500 people were fitted with 
artificial limbs as a result of landmine explosions. Many more never 
received any attention. This number has declined since the negotiation 
of cease-fires among most insurgent groups, but casualties from 
landmines remain high. According to an official based in Rangoon, most 
landmine victims now come from Karen State.

Greatly exacerbating this problem has been the poor management of the 
minefields laid. Both the Myanmar Army and various insurgent groups have 
failed to keep accurate or comprehensive records of where mines have 
been placed. Local villagers are often not informed of their whereabouts 
for security reasons. During the fall of the KNLA's base at Manerplaw, 
for example, the militant All Burma Students Democratic Front revealed 
that all casualties resulted from their own defensive minefield, not 
enemy fire. Even government soldiers often do not know where their mines 
have been laid. 

Proper maps are rarely produced and often, when a military unit leaves 
an area, precise details about the local minefields are not passed on. 
Even when this does occur, the smaller plastic mines now used by the 
Myanmar Army can be washed away during heavy rainfall to new, unknown 

One saving grace in the past was that the landmines used were made of 
metal and were liable to rust, rendering them inoperable after one or 
two rainy seasons. The batteries required for detonation by some 
insurgent mines rarely lasted more than six months. Also, the wooden 
stakes used to set up some kinds of AP fragmentation mines had a 
relatively short life in areas where the climate was hot and wet. 
According to one government source, some mines used by the Myanmar Army 
during the 1960s and 1970s became unserviceable because the explosive 
charge tended to be eaten by ants.

The more modern mines now being used by the Rangoon regime, however, 
have much longer lives. They are made from more durable materials, do 
not rely on batteries and remain serviceable much longer after being 
laid. Also, it appears that, where possible, stake AP mines are being 
placed on metal spikes so they remain effective for longer periods. 
Plastic lightweight mines are also being used by insurgent groups - 
mainly Chinese Type 72 AP blast mines and US-made M-14 mines (or copies 
of the M-14 from Vietnam and Singapore).

Mines used in Myanmar

A wide range of landmines appear to have been used in Myanmar over the 
years. Details are hard to obtain, but it would appear that before 1988 
the Myanmar Army had access to common Eastern bloc AP mines such as the 
POMZ-2 and POMZ-2M stake-mounted AP fragmentation mines. It is highly 
likely that Myanmar also imported (or was given as part of military aid 
packages) a range of other AP and AV land mines. These would have 
probably come from countries like the UK, USA, the Soviet Union and 
Yugoslavia, all of which provided arms to Myanmar at one time or 
another. For example, it is believed that the Myanmar Army was familiar 
with US-manufactured M-18 Claymore mines, M-16 bounding fragmentation 
mines, M-14 AP blast mines and M-7 AV mines. It is also believed that 
Yugoslavia provided AV mines to Myanmar in the 1950s and possibly the 

During this period the insurgents bought US, Soviet and Chinese mines on 
the black market or, as in the case of the CPB, were directly supplied 
by China. The latter shipments appear to have included large quantities 
of Type 58 AP blast mines. This is a direct copy of the Russian PMN 
mine. The Chinese probably also supplied the CPB with their own versions 
of the POMZ-2 and POMZ-2M stake mines, known as the Type 58 and Type 59 
respectively. There has been at least one report of a Chinese Type 59 
'shoebox' AP mine (a copy of the Russian PMD-6 mine) also being used.

Since the Myanmar armed forces took back direct control of the country 
in 1988, the Rangoon regime (known initially as the State Law and Order 
Restoration Council, and after 1997 as the State Peace and Development 
Council) has faced an arms embargo at the hands of its traditional 
suppliers. As a consequence, it has been forced to rely on a much wider 
range of sources for its arms and military equipment.

Most mines have come from China, but Singapore, Pakistan, Israel, 
Russia, Poland, Yugoslavia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea 
(DPRK) and Portugal are also known to have sold arms or ammunition to 
Myanmar's military regime over the past 12 years. China and Singapore 
are the most likely of these countries to have included landmines in 
their arms shipments to Myanmar.

There is evidence that since 1989, when the BCP collapsed and bilateral 
relations with China rapidly improved, Beijing has supplied Myanmar with 
AP landmines. In addition to those types noted above, one source in 
Rangoon has suggested that these shipments have included the Type 69 
Chinese AP bounding fragmentation mine, similar to the US-made M-16, 
popularly known as the 'Bouncing Betty'. Both US and Chinese mines of 
this type have been used in recent operations by the Tatmadaw in the 
Taninthayi Division. The Chinese Type 72 AP blast mine has also been 
used against insurgents in recent years, as well as an (as yet 
unidentified) Italian-designed AP blast mine. Mines manufactured by 
Singapore and Israel are also reported to have been used in Myanmar, but 
this has not yet been confirmed.

The military regime in Rangoon, however, has never been comfortable 
relying on foreign countries for its military supplies. Since the 
mid-1950s it has built up a network of its own defence industries, 
capable of producing a range of arms and ammunition, including 
landmines. There is evidence that this capability has recently been 

Mine manufacture

For some years before 1988 Myanmar had been able to produce its own 
landmines at a German-built factory in the regime's heavily guarded 
defence industrial complex on the western side of the Taninthayi 
(Irrawaddy) River, near Pyay. Most appear to have been copies of proven 
Eastern bloc stake and pressure AP mines, known locally as lu-that (AP) 
mines, but some AV mines were probably also produced. 

About two years ago, however, a secret agreement was reportedly signed 
with China for the construction of a completely new factory near 
Meikhtila in central Myanmar, solely to produce landmines. Although 
sources disagree on the progress made on the factory since then, it 
seems that serial production of some mine types has begun. 

 From the limited information available, this factory is believed to 
produce at least five types of mines, designated MM-1 through to MM- 5. 
The MM-1 is essentially the Chinese Type 59 AP stake-mounted mine, with 
slight modifications to the detonator and weather cap. The MM-2 design 
closely follows that of China's Type 58 AP blast mine. Two variants of 
the MM-2 have been confirmed. The characteristics of the MM-3, MM-4 and 
MM-5 landmines are still unknown, although it is possible that one is an 
AV mine.

Myanmar produces a shi-twe directional mine, possibly a copy of the M-18 
Claymore, which may have been given a 'MM' designation. Following the 
practice adopted by Myanmar's Defence Industries in the past, these 
designations probably mean Myanmar Mine 1, Myanmar Mine 2 and so on.

Most informed Myanmar watchers believe that China is still providing 
technical assistance and spare parts for the Meikhtila factory, as well 
as some of the key components used in the manufacture of these mines. 
Singapore (which manufactures its own range of plastic-bodied AP and AV 
mines, including some under licence) may have assisted in the 
establishment and operation of this plant. Singapore is secretly 
assisting Myanmar in other areas of arms manufacture, for example the 
production of a new family of infantry weapons. Claims that it is 
helping to produce landmines in Myanmar cannot be proved. 
Most insurgent groups maintained workshops in which to repair and 
manufacture weapons, including landmines. After the collapse of the BCP 
in 1989, Khun Sa probably had the greatest capacity of all Myanmar's 
insurgent groups and narcotics-based armies to manufacture and lay 
landmines. When he surrendered in 1996 the Myanmar Army took possession 
of, and reportedly destroyed, over 2,000 landmines that had been stored 
at his Ho Mong base camp. Most appear to have been AP mines, but Khun Sa 
also had a stock of large AV mines that he claimed was to protect his 
camp from "external aggression". 

It is not known what specific kinds of mines were being manufactured or 
held in the MTA's inventory, but they are most likely to have been 
copies of the simpler, locally produced AP mines, like the POMZ-2M.

Other insurgent groups have not had the funds, expertise or facilities 
to make landmines of this kind, or on this scale. Most have tended to 
rely on booby-traps and other IEDs. Explosives from quarries in Myanmar 
or neighbouring states have been obtained and placed in any available 
container - usually plastic pipes or bamboo links. Sometimes glass 
bottles have been used as glass readily lends itself to fragmentation. 
Metal waste and nails have been added as shrapnel to make the mine even 
more destructive.

Electric detonators were obtained from the same quarries. Trip plates 
were made of wood and wire, and were linked to a common dry cell 
battery. These improvised mines are quite effective but usually have a 
limited life, often no more than six months, as the batteries tend to 
run out after that time.

Insurgent groups like the Karen reportedly feel that their limited funds 
are better used to buy guns and ammunition, rather than components for 
landmines. Because of the current shortage of resources, they try to dig 
up and take their land mines with them when they move.

Such is the demand for landmines in Myanmar that all stocks produced 
have been used in-country. There have been no reports of the Rangoon 
regime or insurgent group exporting landmines to another country or 

Laying, detection and clearing

The Myanmar armed forces rely mainly on traditional methods to lay mines 
- by hand. The army's Engineering Corps reportedly has some towed 
mine-laying vehicles when large areas are to be mined, but the difficult 
terrain in the insurgent areas of operation would restrict their 

Over the years, Myanmar Army engineers have used a variety of means to 
detect and clear mines. Manual methods, mainly using probes, have been 
most common. Since the early 1970s, however, a greater reliance has been 
placed on the use of mechanical mine detectors. In the past, these have 
included French DHPM-1A mine detection sets, White's Electronics 6000 
Di-PRO SL detectors from the UK and UK-made NMD-9 equipment. There have 
also been reports that Myanmar manufactures its own mine detector, known 
as the Tha-ma 93. This detector, which consists of a circular search 
head, carrying handle, battery-powered control box and a set of attached 
headphones, seems to be a copy, or maybe a modification, of an imported 
The Myanmar Army has Bangalore torpedoes, which can be used to clear 
pathways through minefields, and has also used mine detecting and 
detonating vehicles. These range from a jeep pushing a weighted trailer 
to set off the mines in its path, and a tank-mounted mine roller 
designed to do the same thing, to a specially designed mine clearance 
plough. The latter seems simply to be a small tank with a bulldozer 
blade on the front of the vehicle. It is not known how many of these 
vehicles are in the Myanmar Army's order of battle, how or from where 
they were acquired. It is possible that some of these vehicles have been 
built by the Myanmar Army itself, with designs based on well-known 
models for sale on the international market. The nature of the terrain 
around Myanmar's borders, however, would restrict the use of such 

The Tatmadaw has seriously considered the use of sniffer dogs to detect 
mines, but how often this method has been used, and with what degree of 
success, is unknown.

There have also been numerous confirmed reports of the Myanmar Army 
using local villagers and forced labourers as human minesweepers. These 
people (including women and children) have been forced to walk ahead of 
military units, detonating any landmines or booby traps that lie in 
their path.

Indiscriminate use

At present there is no sign that the Rangoon regime intends to reduce 
its manufacture or use of landmines in Myanmar. Indeed, the opposite is 
true, with the increased use of AP mines against insurgents by the armed 
forces being fuelled by a new munitions factory and imports from 
friendly countries like China. In these circumstances, it is not 
surprising that the military government has consistently refused to sign 
the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, stating to the UN that "a sweeping ban on 
landmines is unnecessary and unjustified".

The problem is the indiscriminate use of mines, as well as the transfer 
of them. The opposition National League for Democracy, by contrast, has 
publicly stated that it would be prepared to support Myanmar's accession 
to the Ottawa Convention. At present, however, its activities (and those 
of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi) have been severely curtailed by the 
regime and it has no scope to implement such a policy.

The continuing manufacture and indiscriminate use of AP mines by the 
Myanmar armed forces seems set to continue. The insurgents, for their 
part, will also use mines and explosive booby traps in their struggle 
against the central government, made from whatever resources they can 
obtain. The inevitable result will be further casualties, as combatants 
and civilians alike are killed and maimed by these weapons in a part of 
the world that has not known peace for over 60 years.

GRAPHIC: Photograph 1, AP landmines manufactured by Myanmar's Defence 
Products Industries. On the extreme left is a MM 1 (PRC Type 59 copy) 
and in the centre is a MM 2 (PRC Type 58 copy). The MM 2 is flanked by 
the LTM 76 stake/fragmentation mine. (Source: FTUB/LM) Map 1, Myanmar 
(Source: Jane's); Photograph 2, Field surgery is carried out on a mine 
victim in Kayah State by the Backpack Health Worker Team, an 
ethnic-based emergency medical non-governmental organisation based on 
the border of Myanmar and Thailand. (Source:

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________



Kyodo: U.S. urges Myanmar's Wa not to proceed with relocation

Oct. 13 Kyodo

The United States has directly urged the drug-trafficking Wa rebel 
leadership in Myanmar against relocating some 100,000 highlanders 
dependent on opium cultivation to lowland areas amid reports as many as 
1,000 have died since June, a U.S. Statement Department official said 

James Callahan, in charge of Asia at the department's Bureau of 
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, told reporters in Bangkok 
the United Wa State Army's (UWSA) stated intention of getting highland 
tribespeople out of opium cultivation by moving them out of the 
highlands into lowland areas was ''obviously self-serving.'' 


Bangkok Post: UNITED NATIONS - Top refugee official to see border camp

Oct 13, 2000

Post Reporters

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will hold high-level 
talks and inspect a refugee camp near the Thai-Burmese border during a 
two-day visit to Thailand next week. 
The UNHCR said Sadako Ogata, who is due to arrive on Tuesday after a 
visit to Burma, will have an audience with His Majesty the King and 
meetings with Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and Deputy Foreign Minister 
Sukhumbhand Paribatra. 

As Mrs Ogata is due to leave office at the end of this year, the visit 
would "also be an opportunity to express her appreciation to His Majesty 
the King, the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand for their 
good will towards refugees during her 10-year tenure", said the UNHCR 

On Tuesday, Mrs Ogata received praise from the United States House of 
Representatives for a "superb job of bringing both professionalism and 
compassion" to her leadership of the UNHCR, the Kyodo news agency 

The resolution also commended the office of the UNHCR for its work over 
the past 50 years. 


The Star (Malaysia): Myanmar skipper jailed and fined

Oct 14, 2000.

PENANG: A Myanmar captain was jailed a week and fined RM5,000 while a 
local shipping agent was fined RM10,000 yesterday for falsely declaring 
the amount of diesel in a specially-modified fishing boat.  Capt U Hla 
Tin and Freightman Agency Sdn Bhd, represented by its director Foo Moh 
Hock, admitted in a magistrate's court to jointly committing the offence 
on board the Thiri Aung in Penang waters on Sept 16.  

Both had pleaded guilty to having made a declaration to state Domestic 
Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry supplies assistant controller Zamri 
Zakaria that the amount of diesel on board was 30,000 litres when the 
actual quantity was 41,680 litres.  

Magistrate Christopher Kushi Kostka ordered the confiscation of RM20,840 
which was proceeds of the sale of 41,680 litres of diesel and for the 
vessel to be returned to its owner.  

Both U, who was later taken away to jail, and Freightman Agency paid the 

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Free Burma Coalition Minneapolis: Divestment Passes in Minneapolis

Minneapolis City Council Approves Human Rights Policy on Burma City to 
Sell-Off Stocks in Corporations Financing Burma's Military Regime, Adopt 
Ethical Standards on Burma-related Investments

Minneapolis, MN (Friday, Oct. 13, 2000)-The City Council of Minneapolis 
voted 8-5 today on a human rights initiative that directs the city to 
sell off--or "divest"--its stocks and avoid future investments in 
companies that do business in Burma.  Burma is controlled by brutal 
military regime with an abysmal human rights record, including forced 
labor of millions, rape, torture, mass killings, and opium/heroin 
trafficking.  The divestment is authored by Council Member Jim Niland 
(Ward 6) and sponsored by the Free Burma Coalition.  At today's meeting, 
Council members Herron, Mead, Campbell, and Council President 
Cherryhomes asked to be listed as co-authors. 

The Burma Divestment Resolution registers the city's outrage of the 
military dictatorship's abuses and the multi-national corporations that 
finance the regime to take advantaged of a slave-labor force and exploit 
the natural resources.  "If we do nothing, we are sending a message that 
the city should profit from the atrocities in Burma," said Niland. 

The Council passed a similar "Selective Purchasing Resolution" a few 
months ago that would have prevented the city from buying products or 
accepting contract bids from companies involved in Burma.  However, 
Mayor Sharon Sayles-Belton vetoed the measure in a move that surprised 
many Councilors and upset many community advocates.

Council Member Ostrow, who had earlier voted against the purchasing 
resolution, changed his mind on the divestment issue.  He said the new 
resolution satisfied his previous legal concerns and was building upon 
the city's history of adopting ethical parameters in its investment 
choices. Following this argument, the Mayor has also agreed to sign the 
Burma Divestment Resolution.  .   "This resolution is the final leg in a 
long journey to get the Minneapolis to take responsibility for how it 
uses public money and to stop the killing of my people," said Aung Koe, 
a Burmese activist.

The success in Minneapolis bolsters the human rights movement for Burma 
after a Supreme Court decision this summer striking down a related 
measure in the State of Massachusetts, which cast a shadow over other 
Burma initiatives.  Minneapolis now sends a strong message to local 
governments that they have the legal authority-and obligation-to 
exercise good judgment in dealing with corporate-sponsored abuses.  
"This is the least the city could do to keep its own hands clean from 
the bloodshed in Burma," remarked Patti Hurd, a county social worker and 
Free Burma Coalition volunteer. 



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