[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

BurmaNet News: January 31, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         January 31, 2001   Issue # 1723
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi optimistic over talks with junta--source 
*AP: Ethnic leaders welcome secret Suu Kyi talks with 'cautious
*AFP: Myanmar rebels welcome improving political situation 
*Salon: The Htoo twins come in from the cold
*Rhododendron News : Interview With Lieutenant Colonel Biak To
*Kyodo: Myanmar Junta Head Warns Against 'Neocolonial' Interference  
*Unity: Infantry Battalion 101, New Year of Rape and Kill 

*AFP: EU delegation says visit to Myanmar successful: Thai officials 
*The Daily Star (Bangladesh): Gunrunning is their business-Rohingya 
settlers' syndicate in Ctg also smuggles in drugs, gold

*The Nation: Unions pile the pressure on Burma 
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Wa fix drug prices

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi optimistic over talks with junta--source 

BANGKOK, Jan 31 (AFP) - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told a 
visiting EU delegation she was cautiously optimistic about talks with 
Myanmar's junta and hoped they would lead to an official dialogue, 
sources said Wednesday. 

 The five-member European Union team met with Aung San Suu Kyi for more 
than two hours Tuesday at her lakeside residence where she has been 
confined by the military regime since September 22. 

 It was her first confirmed contact with foreign diplomats since UN 
envoy Razali Ismail visited her twice earlier this month. 

 Razali later revealed that the Nobel peace laureate had met at least 
twice with junta number-three Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt and that the 
opposition and the junta were edging towards their first dialogue since 

 Aung San Suu Kyi expressed "cautious optimism" over the ongoing initial 
talks and said she hoped they would "lead to more substantive official 
ones," a diplomatic source who met with the EU delegation told AFP. 

 The visiting officials found the opposition leader "in good health and 
in high spirits ... and quite comfortable with her present living 
conditions," he said. 

 The Thai foreign ministry confirmed that the team told Southeast Asian 
ambassadors they were pleased with the progress made during their 
three-day mission, which ends Wednesday. 

 "They are happy with how their talks went so the situation looks 
optimistic," said Thai foreign ministry spokesman Pradap Pibulsonggram. 
"They said that Aung San Suu Kyi looks well and relaxed." 

 The Swedish-led delegation arrived in Yangon Sunday to investigate the 
new mood in the military-run country and to encourage the junta and the 
opposition to break their decade-long political deadlock. 

 On Monday they held talks with Foreign Minister Win Aung and 
Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt, the powerful head of military 

 And on Tuesday they saw leaders of Myanmar's ethnic political parties, 
including the Shan National League for Democracy which was runner-up to 
the NLD in the 1990 elections that the junta has refused to recognise. 

 The diplomatic source said Khin Nyunt briefed the EU officials on the 
military's efforts to bolster trust and confidence between the two 

 More concessions were in the offing after the release last week of 
dozens of opposition prisoners including National League for Democracy 
(NLD) vice-chairman Tin Oo, the general told the team. 

 He indicated that the next batch to be released could be some 30 NLD 
members elected in the disallowed 1990 elections, who would be free to 
return to their homes permanently "at an appropriate time." 

 Khin Nyunt reiterated during the meeting that neither the junta nor the 
opposition would reveal the "nature and content" of the ongoing talks 
until a "proper climate" was created. 

 The EU mission was due to leave Yangon late Wednesday and brief the 


AP: Ethnic leaders welcome secret Suu Kyi talks with 'cautious 

Jan. 31, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar ethnic minority leaders have told members 
of a visiting European Union mission that they welcome with ``cautious 
optimism'' the secret talks between pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu 
Kyi and the ruling military. 

 Khun Tun Oo, chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, 
said Wednesday he urged a tripartite dialogue including all ethnic 
groups when the talks touch on ethnic issues. 

 The Shan leader and other representatives of the Shan, Arakan and Zomi 
ethnic groups met late Tuesday with an EU delegation. Its four-day 
mission to Myanmar ends Wednesday. 

 The EU mission is trying to foster an end to the decade-long political 
impasse between Suu Kyi's party and the military, and assess progress 
toward national reconciliation. 

 The military, which is dominated by Myanmar's ethnic Burman majority, 
has controlled Myanmar since 1962. 

 The military regards its success in reaching cease-fires with most 
ethnic rebel armies in Myanmar over the past decade as one of its 
greatest achievements after decades of civil strife in border regions. 
But it has yet to reach a political settlement with any of them. Most 
seek more autonomy, although a handful want independence. 

 Many observers remain skeptical that the talks between Suu Kyi and the 
regime mean a major political breakthrough is in the offing. 

 The EU delegation, led by Sweden, held more than two hours of 
discussions Tuesday with Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house 
detention by the military authorities for the past four months. 

 It has also met with Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt _ the third-ranking general in 
the ruling State Peace and Development Council _ who has held at least 
two rounds of secret talks with Suu Kyi since October, the first in six 

 The talks have signaled a thaw in relations and heralded the release 
last week of 84 democracy activists, most of whom were imprisoned after 
Suu Kyi tried to travel with aides to do party work outside Yangon on 
Sept. 21. 

 Suu Kyi and two top lieutenants remain confined to their homes. 

 For the past decade, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has been 
subject to harsh treatment by the military, which brutally crushed a 
pro-democracy uprising in 1988 and two years later refused to recognize 
the outcome of a general election which the NLD won by a landslide. 

 The regime has said that before Parliament can be convened, a new 
constitution must be framed by a National Convention hand-picked by the 

 But the convention hasn't sat since five years ago, when the NLD pulled 
out, objecting that its work would guarantee a large military presence 
in any future government. 

 Khun Tun Oo said he told the EU mission that the convention was also 
not representative of ethnic minorities. 

 The EU mission, was meeting separately Wednesday with intermediaries of 
cease-fire groups and Yangon-based diplomats from Australia, the United 
States, Britain, India and Japan. 

 The EU delegation will make an official announcement about its 
evaluation of the visit in Brussels next week. 


AFP: Myanmar rebels welcome improving political situation 

MAE SOT, Thailand, Jan 31 (AFP) - The rebel Karen National Union (KNU) 
Wednesday welcomed the political thaw in Myanmar as it marked the 52nd 
anniversary of its fight for independence. 

 KNU military chief and former number-one Bo Mya said in a Revolutionary 
Day address that he was optimistic the situation in the military-run 
country would improve. 

 And he welcomed the ruling State Peace and Development Council's (SPDC) 
move to release members of the opposition National League for Democracy 
(NLD) from jail. 

 "We are hopeful that things will change in Myanmar after the SPDC 
released political prisoners and met with democracy leaders," said the 
veteran fighter. 

 In celebrations held opposite Thailand's Phob Phra district, Bo Mya 
said he believed the developments were the result of consistent pressure 
from the international community. 

 The KNU is the largest rebel group yet to sign a ceasefire with the 
Myanmar regime. 
 Its leaders have dismissed persistent rumours over the last few weeks 
that it is poised to hold peace talks with the government. 


Salon: The Htoo twins come in from the cold

Myanmar's legendary child rebel leaders are like toxic cherubim, 
confusing our moral senses. By Lawrence Weschler

Jan. 29, 2001 | The image itself (splayed across virtually every 
newspaper in the world) was uncanny, the caption more unsettling yet: 
Dec. 6, 1999, a pair of 12-year-old ethnic Karen twin brothers, the 
Htoos, Johnny on the left (that's a boy?) and Luther (Luther!?) on the 
right, leaders of a beleaguered Myanmar insurgent group known as God's 
Army, whose members credit them with mystical godlike powers that 
"render them invulnerable during battle."  

In the photo, they look like Renaissance cherubs gone badly wrong 
(specifically like those two cliched angels propped at the foot of 
Raphael's Dresden Sistine Madonna): toxic putti. Raphael's cherubs, that 
is, gone upriver, deep, way too deep into Conradland -- miniature 
Brandos bestriding their own demented cargo cult. Their aura is all the 
more unsettling in that, in this photo anyway, they actually look, if 
you'll pardon the expression, like Siamese twins. Johnny seems to grow 
right out of Luther's back, his tremulous innocence hitched helplessly 
to the latter's age-old, gimlet-eyed world-weariness: seen it all 
(toke), seen it all (toke), should never have seen any of it.  

The inhaled stogie lends the image a certain sulfurous air, as does word 
that their followers have now gone and attacked a hospital, of all 
things, and are holding hundreds of hostages. Is there no bottom to the 
world's demented evil?  

Of course, this is all so much Orientalist claptrap: feverish white 
Western fantasies about the metaphysical debauch of endlessly 
inscrutable colored folk, the convenient Other. In fact, the attack on 
the hospital itself undercuts such smug and easy projections: They've 
raided the hospital and are holding all those hostages to advance their 
demands that the Thai army stop shelling their positions and that the 
doctors there treat their own ragtag wounded. There is no Primordial 
Evil here, only all-too-human desperation.  

But the fantasy of the first allows us to screen out the palpable 
reality of the second -- no need any longer to trouble ourselves over 
the plight of Karen minorities wedged in a tightening vise between those 
Burmese and Thai generals. No call to keep paying attention.  

And so we don't (pay attention). Time passes, and then suddenly, last 
week, here they are again, those wacky Htoo boys, come in out of the 
cold (or rather the jungle dank). After turning themselves in to Thai 
border guards alongside a clutch of their followers, they are whisked to 
a police compound in the nearby town of Suan Phung, where (according to 
the dispatch by Time's Robert Horn) they soon find themselves exchanging 
bewildered stares with the Thai prime minister and several of his top 
generals. The prime minister "gently stroked the boys' lice ridden 
locks. 'He totally demystified them,' says Sunai Phasuk of Forum Asia, a 
human rights group. In Thailand, where people still crawl before 
royalty, 'you don't pat a god on the head.'"  

So that, see (another comforting dodge, an obverse reassuring fantasy): 
They're just ordinary kids after all. Decked out there in their fresh 
soccer frocks, straddling nothing more fearsome than everyday puberty, 
they're just like the boys next door (though it would be nice if 
somebody could get that Luther kid to stop smoking).  

This too, of course, is all wrong. Thirteen years old, they look like 
they can't be more than 7 or 8. And that's not charming mumbo jumbo, 
that's severe extended malnutrition. These aren't just ordinary kids. 
They've seen things, they've lived through hells that the world (which 
is to say the rest of us, swaddled in our comforting illusions) had no 
business allowing. 


Rhododendron News : Interview With Lieutenant Colonel Biak To

Chin Human Rights Organization

Jan. 31, 2001

Interview With Lieutenant Colonel Biak To--The life and views of a 
veteran Army and Police Officer

( CHRO NOTE:Lieutenant Colonel Biak To a B.A graduate from Mandalay  
University, enlisted as a private in the Burmese Army on 17 November 
1973  after he found out that his movement as leader of Haka University 
Students  Association was closely monitored by the notorious Military 
Intelligence  Service (MIS). It was the time when a new constitution for 
Socialist  authoritarian regime was being drafted in Burma and the 
authorities were in  full alert to crush every possible hindrance to the 
progress of  constitutional making process. After going through 
different levels of  military training with a number of postings in 
different parts of Burma  including one in the Light Infantry Battalion 
(101) under Divisional Command  77 stationed in Wa area, he became a 
Captain in 1984.

In 1990, he shifted from the Army to Police service on a rank-to-rank 
basis,  becoming a police inspector. Being an educated man with adequate 
service  experience, he was promoted Major in 1994. And by 1998, he 
became Lieutenant  Colonel in the 1st Police Regiment.

In 2000, for the reason that was never made clear to him, Lt. Colonel 
Biak  To  had his position stripped off from him. Much to his surprise, 
he was  fired with a fine of Kyats 15,9000, which he had to pay 
apparently without  knowing why.
In the following disclosure to CHRO, Lt. Colonel Biak To  revealed how 
he  was discriminated and unfairly treated by his superiors in the Army 
and  Police simply because of his religious and ethnic identity. He also 
 explained his views and perspectives involving the various aspects of  
problems facing Burma.)

CHRO: How was your life during your service in the Burmese Army and 
Lt. Col.BT: My father was Rev. Lal Hnin. He was one of the first Chin  
converts into Christianity. So, I was grown up in a good Christian 
family. I  finished high school from Haka State High School and 
graduated from Mandalay  University in 1972.

I was a weight lifter and healthy young man. I would like to become an 
army  officer. Therefore, after my graduation from university, I applied 
for  Military Officer Training School. However, because I am a Chin 
ethnic  nationality, my application was not considered. So, I joined the 
army as a  private on November 17,1973. I tried very hard to please my 
superiors in  performing my duties. I was promoted to Lance corporal in 
February l976 and  corporal in October of the same year in 1976. Because 
of my work  performance, I was allowed to join Officer Training School 
in 1979 in  service. Then I became second Lieutenant in April 1980. That 
means it took  me almost 8 years to reach this level while other Burmese 
Buddhist graduates  could attain this level of rank just one year after 
their graduation from a  university.

The vast majority of the ranking officers in the Burmese Army are Burman 
 Budhists. As a result, I was always discriminated against the dominant  
Budhists for my being an ethnic Chin Christian. For example, the 
non-Burman  soldiers were selectively assigned in the front line to 
fight against the  Karen rebels, saying that we were brave and loyal. 
The ethnic soldiers were,  in fact, respected as the most brave and 
hardy fighters in the Burmese Army.  As ethnic minority soldiers, we 
enjoyed virtually no rest time and were  never given permission or leave 
to visit our relatives. The most frustrating  thing was when we returned 
from a successful operation or captured enemy  positions, the Burman 
soldiers who remained in the camps all the while and  did not 
participate in the actual combat got promoted, while we, the actual  
fighters were neglected for promotions. A Burman officer with less  
educational background and service experience would become a Colonel 
while I  remained as a Captain. Our superiors would always encourage us 
to become  Budhists so as to be considered for promotions, but we always 
chose not to  be promoted than abandoning our faith. An ethnic soldier 
would not be  promoted to a position higher than Major regardless of his 
service years and  how many times he had been transferred.

There is no difference in the Police either. We were repeatedly told to  
convert to Buddhism if we really aspired for promotions. This also 
tended to  be a mere deception. A close friend of mine, Thein Lwin, an 
ethnic Shan  Christian converted to Buddhism for want of promotions but 
was never  promoted. He just ended up being cheated of his faith.

On July 10, 2000, I gave a speech to the police parade mentioning my 
being a  Chin Christian and son of a pastor that from childhood, I never 
wanted to  tell lies, steal or misbehave and that I wanted everyone to 
do likewise.  Four days later, on July 14, I received an order saying 
that I have been  dismissed from the police.

CHRO: Do you know the reason why you were laid off?

Lt.Col.BT: I still have no idea on what exact account I was dismissed. 
The  order came all of a sudden without any formal procedures. Under 
normal  circumstances either a preliminary inquiry or departmental 
inquiry should  have been conducted before a government service could be 
tried for any  misconduct or violations of rules. There was not any such 
thing happening in  my case. At the time of my dismissal, I was the only 
person holding a B.A  degree among officers of my rank in the entire 
nine Police Regiments in  Burma. In fact, I should have been the first 
one to be considered for  promotions. Obviously, the authorities did not 
want to see a Chin Christian  holding high position that they made a 
pre-emptive move to dismiss me  without any apparent charges. It just 
did not end with my dismissal. In an  attempt to prevent me from leaving 
the country, the authorities disqualified  me from being eligible for a 
passport in seven years. However, I was able to  obtain a passport under 
a fake name and secretly managed to sneak out of the  country. I have a 
wife and three children remaining in Burma. I am  constantly worried 
about them because if the authorities found out my  absence, they would 
be subject to harassment and persecution. 
CHRO: As a middle rank police officer, can you tell us about the prison  
conditions in Burma? Under what conditions do the prisoners commonly 

Lt.Col.BT: Prison conditions differ from one another. In a major prison 
like  Insein prison, different inmates receive different treatment 
depending on  the severity and importance of their case. Inmates serving 
political  sentence would receive better treatments in terms of food and 
facilities so  as to look good before foreign agencies that might come 
to assess the prison  conditions. All the prisoners in general, are not 
adequately receiving food  and medical attention. In some cases, 
prisoners mostly depend on their  relatives who brought them food from 
outside. Prisoners having no relatives  around have to stay hungry. 
There are nine hard labor camps across Burma in  which inmates have to 
work on governmentÆs agricultural projects and road  construction etc. 
This usually happened under serious conditions and beyond  the prisoners 
can endure. There is no medical treatment available for them  unless 
their relatives can send them money to guy it. But the jail officials  
would always take the money for themselves. The number of death in 
prisons  is dramatically increasing everywhere. People are so much 
afraid of being  ended up in the country?s prison that they are fleeing 
the county each day. 

CHRO: What is the nexus between the military regime and drug? 
Lt.Col.BT: I do not know much about the drug. Drugs come mostly from the 
 area controlled by Wa militants, which had signed cease-fire agreement 
with  the SPDC. This drug involved mostly stimulant tablets and fewer 
amount of  cocaine. There are more than 50 such refinery machines 
operating in Wa area.  These drugs are transported and smuggled out to 
Thailand from where they are  transported again to other countries.

CHRO: How would you describe your views with regards to the present 
military  regime and the country?s problems in general?

Lt.Col.BT: What appears to be the main problem with the present military 
 regime is a notion that they can stay in power as long as they can 
cheat the  people. They do not seem to care about what is going on 
around the world  other than their own ideological belief. They have 
sold off all the  country?s natural resources including teaks and 
gemstones and pocketed it  for themselves. Huge amount of money is spent 
on military hard wares and  equipments. They projected some money on 
building bridges and dams, which  they boasted them in the 
State-controlled Television broadcast and  newspapers as the 
unprecedented achievements that ever happened only under  their reign. 
They believe that no one including the UN can interfere with  the 
internal matters and that they will run the country as they like. 

What military regime has in mind is only the benefits and welfare of 
their  own families while the people at large are being pushed to the 
point of  starvation. Prices are skyrocketing day after day and year 
after year. A  person could live easily on 3.15 kyats a day earning in 
the 1960s. But  today, kyats 300 cannot even survive a person. Inflation 
rate is fast  becoming high because the government had allowed former 
Drug lord Khunsa and  his associates to launder their drug money in the 
country, which involved  large scale buying of properties and land 
across the country. 

The question of democracy seems to be still far away. The military 
officials  have enjoyed very much the taste of being in power that they 
will never want  cede it again. They do not even attempt to understand 
what democracy really  is. The cry of ethnic minority for 
self-determination and federalism means  some sort of separatism or 
independence movement to the military junta. All  their intention and 
attempts are only to suppress any kind of elements they  deem a threat 
to them. Their targets have constantly been the NLD and  Aungsan Suukyi. 
They are now trying to expand the arm force on a daily  basis. More than 
thrice the numbers of normal recruits are now in the  Defense Studies 
Academy in Maymyo. Because the junta has held everything so  tight that 
without any assistance or effective pressure from abroad, I think  the 
question of democracy is still not within reach.


Kyodo: Myanmar Junta Head Warns Against 'Neocolonial' Interference  

YANGON, Jan 30 Kyodo) - Myanmar junta leader Gen. Than Shwe on Monday 
warned against outside interference by ''neocolonial'' states trying to 
cause disunity in the country, local media reported Tuesday.  

''Some big neocolonialist countries, which want to dominate and 
manipulate Myanmar, are trying to destroy the spirit of national 
solidarity in order to weaken the country and put it under their 
influence,'' said Than Shwe, chairman of the ruling State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC).  

In a speech in the parliament, he told a group of primary school teacher 
trainees to always strive for national unity. The text of his address 
was carried in local newspapers.  

''Taking advantage of their superiority in science and technology, these 
big nations are trying to dominate the developing nations politically, 
economically, socially and culturally,'' he said.  
Myanmar must be guarded by implementing the SPDC's three basic 
principles of ''non-disintegration of union, non-disintegration of 
national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty,'' he said.  

A five-member delegation from the European Union is currently visiting 
Myanmar to examine the local human rights situation. The mission met 
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on  Tuesday, diplomatic sources 


Unity: Infantry Battalion 101, New Year of Rape and Kill 

[Unity is an Internet news service of the Karen National Union?s 
Mergui-Tavoy District Information Department]

25 January, 2001


A Burma Army's troop has attacked a Karen village; raped and killed a 
woman, four villagers were wounded and the troop looted all villagers' 
properties they have found. 

On January 11, 2001 a column from Burma Army's Light Infantry Battalion 
101, led by Major Aung Myint Oo arrived to Taket Lor village in 
Tenasserim township, Mergui District, Tenasserim Division, Southern 
Burma, and opened fire to the villagers. Four villagers: Saw Ta Pu (male 
45 yr.), Naw Nyunt Lay (Female 28 yr.) Naw De Hse (F 22 yr.) and Naw Lay 
Myit (F 25 yr.) were wounded.  

After opening fire to the villagers the troop had captured a villager 
Naw They Satin, 20 yr. daughter of Saw Pe Lo and Naw Pi. They took her 
to a house and raped her severely and stabbed her to death after raping 
her. Next day, that troop cleared the area and took the villagers 
properties that were abandoned. 

A column of IB 101 led by Column Commander Kyaw Thet Naing also has shot 
dead a villager Saw To Pe when entered Taket village on January 4, 2001. 
After killing him they took away a buffalo of Saw To Pe.   

On January 8, 2001 a combined column of IB 101 led by Aung Myint Oo and 
Kyaw Thet Naing burnt down 7 houses in Wah Thu Hta village, Taket 
village tract.

Burma Army? Infantry Battalion 101 is a troop that committed a massive 
killing in 1999. They have killed more than 46 Karen villagers mostly in 
raining season when operating to search the hiding villagers. Four Karen 
women include 9 years old girl were raped and killed. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: EU delegation says visit to Myanmar successful: Thai officials 

BANGKOK, Jan 31 (AFP) - A European Union delegation told Southeast Asian 
diplomats it was pleased with the progress made during its three-day 
mission to Myanmar, the Thai foreign ministry said Wednesday. 
 The five-member team told Association of Southeast Asian Nations 
(ASEAN) diplomats that it found opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be 
in good health and spirits during a two-hour meeting Tuesday. 

 "They are happy with how their talks went so the situation looks 
optimistic," said Thai foreign ministry spokesman Pradap Pibulsonggram. 
"They said that Aung San Suu Kyi looks well and relaxed." 

 "Thailand welcomes and supports the ongoing reconciliation process in 

 The Swedish-led delegation arrived in Yangon Sunday to investigate the 
new mood in the military-run country and to encourage the junta and the 
opposition to break their decade-long political deadlock. 

 The delegates are scheduled to leave later Wednesday, and will brief 
the press on their findings on their arrival at Bangkok airport. 


The Daily Star (Bangladesh): Gunrunning is their business-Rohingya 
settlers' syndicate in Ctg also smuggles in drugs, gold

Date : January 30, 2001, Bangladesh.

NURUL ALAM, Chittagong

Most of the 50,000 exiled Rohingyas, now settled in
Teknaf, Cox's Bazar and Chittagong in the country's
south-east, are engaged in smuggling of arms, drugs
and gold, according to sources in police department
and other law enforcement agencies.

Bulk of the illegal trade is carried out through
Bangladesh-Myanmar border points in Teknaf, the
sources said. Also, a so-called syndicate controls
trafficking of arms, drugs, gold and other contraband
items at the outer anchorage of the Chittagong port in
connivance with foreign cargo vessels, they added.

The Syndicate, formed by a Rohingya and kingpin of a
crime ring in the southern part of the port city, uses
multiple channels for arms trafficking. Cache of arms
and ammunitions is shipped in from the United Arab
Emirates and other Middle Eastern countries and Libya.
It also gets supply from the Karen rebels in Thailand
and separatist militants in Malaysia. Besides, Chinese
weapons come in through Myanmar, sources revealed.

The Rohingya leader reportedly owns palatial houses in
the posh residentials area of Kulshi in Chittagong and
at DOHS in Dhaka.

Arrest of the chief of army staff of the Arakan
Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) and one of his
aides from a Chandgaon house in Chittagong has also
raised concern among police and other intelligence
agencies that the separatists may have been operating
from secret bases in the country's south-eastern

In the early hours of January 22, a team of Cox's
Bazar police, led by ASP of Ukhia circle N Palit, made
the arrests during a special drive. Police have also
begun a hunt for other Rohingya militant leaders, who
had been supposedly operating from the Chandgaon base
for several years.

During the raid, police recovered foreign currencies
and important documents. There were also a few
pictures, including one of Salim Ullah, ARNO chief of
military staff, with Libyan leader Moammat Gaddafi.

ARNO is an alliance of extremist fundamentalist groups
of Myanmar, including  of Rohingya Solidarity
Organisation (RSO), National United Party of Arakan
(NUPA), fighting for the independence of Arakan from

The recent raid followed an operation launched on
August 29 last yer by a joint team of police, BDR and
magistrate to trace a separatist hideout atop the
700-foot jumusia hill if Inani at Ukhia.

In that operation two Rohingya militants, including
the camp commander Abu Yasir, were arrested along with
uniforms and some important documents while others
managed to escape.

Following the special police drive, other separatist
leaders have gone into hinding, police sources said.
The two Chandgaon houses that the police raided on
January 22, suspecting these to have been used as ARNO
head-quarters for several years, have been sealed off.

Police now suspect the Rohingya settlers regularly
supply arms and ammunition to the separatists, who
have been struggling for a separate state comprising
part of Teknaf, Cox's Bazar and the Myanmar province
of Arakan.

According to police, the Rohingya settlers maintain
close links with high-ups in local administration.

In 1979, compelled by economic hardship more than
50,000 Rohingya fled their homeland Arakan, crossed
the river Naf that separates Bangladesh and Myanmar
(formerly Burma) and settled in the south-eastern
districts of Teknaf, Cox's Bazar and Chittagong.

Thousand of the settlers later went to Saudi Arabia
and other Middle Eastern countries with Bangladeshi
passport for a better living, police sources said.

Then in 1991, more than 250,000 Rohingyas crossed the
Naf to escape persecution by the Myanmar troops.
Yangon denied the Rohingya allegation of persecution
throughout and singed an agreement with Dhaka under
the auspices of the UNHCR to take back the refugees.
Apart from some 21,000 at two camps in Cox's Bazar,
most of the Rohingyas have been repatriated.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

The Nation: Unions pile the pressure on Burma 

January 30. 2001.

Brussels - Trade unions across the world have been requested to press 
their governments to impose a ban on investments in and trade with 
Burma, ahead of an important meeting of the International Labour 
Organisation in March.  

In a 10-page briefing on Burma sent yesterday to its 221 affiliated 
national union centres in 148 countries, the Brussels-based 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) mentions 30 
different products in relation to which it found "vast evidence of 
forced labour over the last 10 years".  

The products range from teak wood to coconut oil, rubber, cement, 
coffee, sugar cane and others. The ICFTU also said it had accumulated 
evidence of forced labour in 17 different areas of industry.  

In addition to oil and gas production and textiles, where forced labour 
is already well documented, the ICFTU said it was now also researching 
in other directions, such as the telecommunications, automobile and 
pharmaceuticals industries.  

The ICFTU said it had asked its affiliates world-wide to seek the 
following data from their national governments:  

Lists of enterprises maintaining trade relations with Burma (imports, 
exports and investments) in each country.  

Total value of trade with Burma, per country. 

Identification of products imported from Burma, in each country.  

The ICFTU move comes as a European Union delegation is visiting the 
Burmese capital, Rangoon, where it expects to meet top military 
officials as well as opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is still 
under house arrest.  
The ICFTU said it had "extensively briefed" both the Belgian and Swedish 
diplomats taking part in the EU mission about the implications of a 
recent ILO resolution on Burma.  

Adopted in June 2000 and confirmed last November, the ILO document calls 
for the organisation's member states to "review relations" with Burma 
and cease any that might help the junta perpetuate the forced labour 
system.Quoting several statements by senior governmental representatives 
from theregion, the ICFTU said "We have noticed some very small and 
cosmetic stepsby the military but we are still very far from seeing any 
real progress. Infact we are convinced that fear of the impact of the 
ILO Resolution is thereal drive behind the so-called secret SPDC talks 
with the opposition andthe recent release from jail of about 100 senior 
opposition activists". 


Shan Herald Agency for News: Wa fix drug prices

Jan. 31, 2001

Reporters: Hawk and Maihoong
A recent meeting in a border township opposite Chiangmai between Wa and  
Junta officials have set the local prices for drugs, said a reliable 
source  to S.H.A.N.

According to the source, a meeting was held in Mongton, opposite 
Chaingdao  District of Chiangmai, on 2 January by Lt-Col. Myint Sway, 
Commander, IB  65, that was attended by Li Hsien, "Saw Sing" and a 
representative from the  United Wa State Army. The following prices were 
agreed by the participants: 

Heroin B. 270,000 per block
Yaba (manufactured locally) B. 10 per pill
Yaba (manufactured in Pangsang) B. 12 per pill
Opium B. 17,500 - 18,000.

However, the price fixed for opium that went up as high as B. 23,000, 
could  not be held out long due to competing purchasers and is 
fluctuating between  B. 18,000 - 20,000 said sources.

Opium Output
Opium output across Wianghaeng District of Chiangmai appears to be 
higher  than that across Fang District of the same province, according 
to other  sources. Whereas the area across Fang produced about 5 tons of 
opium, that  across Wianghaeng might have yielded as high as 100-tons, 
they said. The  reason was hundreds of outsiders from across the Salween 
had arrived in the  Mongtaw-Monghta area, opposite Wianghaeng, during 
last year to prepare the  fields.

Opium Tax
The tax rate, they said, also was not even. In Mongjawd, it is 0.3 viss 
per  field, but further north in Kui-kaw and Htamwo, it is only 0.05 
viss. (The  Wa, across Fang, collect only K. 500 per field. See 01 -12, 
Poppies being  harvested across the border).

20 known "factories"
The following list of refineries in Mongton Township was also given to  
S.H.A.N. by a source.

1. Joint Wa-junta (Hopang) = 1
2. Joint Chinese-Wa (Hoyawd) = 1
3. Wa (Mongkhid, Napakao, Namhu Naihseng near Poongpakhem, Nawng Htalang 
 near BP-1, Hwe Namyoom, Loihtwe, Hwe Aw, Nawng Yahsai near Mongharng) = 
9 4. Lahu (Namhukhun, Hwe Namyoom) = 2
5. Joint Chinese-junta (Loihtwe, Loinawk, Hwe Khailong) = 3 6. Joint 
Lahu-junta (Honam-naliao near Nakawngmu, Hwe Hsalong, 2 in  
Mongkarnglong north of Mongton) = 4


The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive 
coverage of news and opinion on Burma  (Myanmar) from around the world.  
If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our attention by 
emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx

To automatically subscribe to Burma's only free daily newspaper in 
English, send an email to:

To subscribe to The BurmaNet News in Burmese, send an email to:


You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:

Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a fax.  
If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.

Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143


Burma News Summaries available by email or the web

There are three Burma news digest services available via either email or 
the web.

Burma News Update
Frequency: Biweekly
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at http://www.soros.org/burma/burmanewsupdate/index.html
Cost: Free
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project

The Burma Courier 
Frequency: Weekly 
Availability: E-mail, fax or post.  To subscribe or unsubscribe by email 
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Cost: Free
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article. 
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.

Burma Today
Frequency: Weekly
Availability: E-mail
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Cost: Free
Published by: PD Burma (The International Network of Political Leaders 
Promoting Democracy in Burma)


T O P I C A  -- Learn More. Surf Less. 
Newsletters, Tips and Discussions on Topics You Choose.