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BurmaNet News: August 9, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
           August 9, 2001   Issue # 1861
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AP: Uprising anniversary hardly noted in Myanmar capital
*AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi's party cancels 1988 uprising commemoration 
*Democratic Voice of Burma: Mandalay monk arrested over critical sermon
*Xinhua: 442,264 Motor Vehicles in Operation in Myanmar
*Chin Human Rights Organization:  A Village?s Dream To Solve Drinking 
Water Problems Ruined 

MONEY _______
*Daily Star (Bangladesh): Exhibition of Bangladeshi goods in Myanmar in 

*AP: Thai defense minister claims satisfaction with military reshuffle 
*BurmaNet: Thailand Keeps Burma hard-liner as army commander
*Far Eastern Economic Review: Jet-Fighter Training Needed in Burma
*Reuters: Bangladesh says 10 wounded by Myanmar firing

*AP: Thai police seize heroin, arrest five suspects 

*AP: Thai officials say 1,600 Myanmar refugees to be repatriated 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AP: Uprising anniversary hardly noted in Myanmar capital 

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ A key political anniversary passed without 
incident in the Myanmar capital Wednesday, with no public commemorations 
of a 1988 popular uprising against military rule. 
 Markets, schools and universities were open as usual and many people 
appeared unaware of the significance of the day. 

 On Aug. 8, 1988, a student-inspired national strike began that nearly 
toppled three decades of military rule. It was during the nationwide 
1988 protests that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was propelled into 
the political limelight. 

 The so-called 8-8-88 uprising ended in bloodshed, and the military 
afterward consolidated its power despite losing a general election in 
1990 to Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy. 

 ``I'm fully occupied with my lessons and have no time to think about 
the 8-8-88 anniversary,'' said Maung Soe Naing, a final-year chemistry 
student who said he is going to sit for his final exams next month. 

 '' I am more excited to know the winning number of the state-lottery 
today than the anniversary,'' said Myint Oo, a taxi driver who said he 
has bet fifty kyats (dlrs 0.07 at the free market rate of exchange) on a 
the unofficial ``two-digit'' lottery. 

 NLD Party Secretary U Lwin told The Associated Press that the party had 
no plan to commemorate the anniversary. Suu Kyi, who is under house 
arrest, has said on past occasions that the NLD would not commemorate 
the occasion, as it was a day when Myanmar's people had shed their 

 Public opposition to the military regime inside Myanmar, also known as 
Burma, has withered over the past 13 years. Hundreds of dissidents were 
jailed and many others fled the country. 

 Recently, hopes for political progress have been raised with the 
beginning of closed-door talks between Suu Kyi and the government late 
last year. 
 Security in the capital and around the NLD headquarters in Yangon on 
Wednesday was at its normal level, with about a dozen plainclothes 
police watching the party office from across the street as usual. 
 In northeastern Myanmar near the Thai border, jungle-based opposition 
groups held a ceremony to mark the anniversary and honor the Buddhist 
monks, civilians and students who died in the uprising for democracy. 

 The ceremony was attended by about 100 representatives of 12 opposition 


AFP: Aung San Suu Kyi's party cancels 1988 uprising commemoration 


YANGON, Aug 8 (AFP) - Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party Wednesday 
cancelled plans to mark for the first time in several years the 
anniversary of the bloody 1988 student uprising in Myanmar. 

 National League for Democracy (NLD) sources told AFP that arrangements 
for a low-key commemoration of the protests, in which hundreds of 
democracy demonstrators were gunned down, had been abandoned. 

 They did not give an explanation for the decision, but the NLD has been 
careful in recent months not to provoke the military regime while it is 
holding reconciliation talks with Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 Since the dialogue began last October, dozens of elected MPs have been 
released from detention, the party has been allowed to re-open some of 
its branch offices and NLD members have been given more freedom of 

 Annual ceremonies to mark the bloody protests of August 8, 1988 petered 
out during the late 1990s crackdown on the NLD, which came close to 
collapse in the face of a brutal campaign of repression and arrests. 

 Hundreds of democracy demonstrators were shot dead in the 1988 Yangon 
student uprising, paving the way for a junta to take power from longtime 
military strongman Ne Win the following month. 


Democratic Voice of Burma: Mandalay monk arrested over critical sermon

Text of report by DVB on 7 August

Democratic Voice of Burma  has learned that regional military  
intelligence personnel have arrested a monk for delivering a sermon  
criticizing the prevailing economic and political situations at an 
umbrella  raising religious ceremony held at the Mahamyatmunni Payagyi 
Pagoda in  Mandalay on 1 August. 

The monk, Ashin Pandita, climbed on the pagoda's scaffolding and 
delivered a  sermon to the monks and guests attending the ceremony. 
Immediately, the  nearby military intelligence personnel took the monk 
away towards the gate,  defrocked him, and detained him at No 10 Police 
Station. The authorities  are planning to take action against the monk 
for inciting unrest.  
Although Ashin Pandita is believed to be a resident of a monastery near 
the  Mandalay Technological University his details are not known. His 
actions  caused a commotion among the monks who attended the ceremony 
and he was  later detained by the military intelligence. 

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 7 Aug 01  


Chin Human Rights Organization:  A Village?s Dream To Solve Drinking 
Water Problems Ruined  
SPDC Soldiers Looted 23,500 Kyats from Aru villagers  

August 5, 2001

Lieutenant Kyaw Kyaw Naing of Burmese army LIB ( 274 ) and his troops 
has looted 23,500 Kyats from 32 year-old Mr. Leitho ( name changed ) and 
friends at Aru village, Matupi township of Southern Chinland on 19th 
July 2001.  

Mr. Leitho said that there is no sufficient drinking water in Aru 
village. Thus, the villagers contributed money to buy water pipes to 
drain water from the near by stream. But the money they contributed was 
not still sufficient to buy the water pipe. The villagers then decided 
to buy cattle with the money they contributed and sell them to Mizoram 
hoping that they will be able to buy the water pipe with the proceeds.  

In that way the villagers bought 4 mithuns and Mr. Leitho and friends 
were asked to sell the cattle to Mizoram State of India, which is 5-days 
journey on foot. On 17th July 2001, Mr. Leitho and friends were stopped 
on the way between Sabawngte and Sabawngpi village by Lt. Kyaw Kyaw 
Naing and his troops and demanded from them 20,000 Kyats. Athough Mr. 
Leitho and friends explained to the Lieutenant the whole situation that 
they are not mere traders and that they have no personal belongings but 
only that of the villagers' contributions for buying water pipe for 
their village.  

Ignoring their explanation, Lt. Kyaw Kyaw Naing sent all the cattles to 
Sabawngte army camp. He threatened them that if they refused to pay 20, 
000 Kyats a ransom, he would arrest them and confiscate all the cattle. 
Intimidated, Mr. Leitho and his friends went back to Sabawngpi village.  

On 19th July 2001, Mr. Leitho and friends came back to Lt. Kyaw Kyaw 
Naing to pay 20, 000 Kyats. Then, Lt. Kyaw Kyaw Naing demanded again 
that besides 20, 000 kyats, Mr. Leitho and friends have to pay him a 
goat or 3, 500 Kyats to buy a goat. Lt. Kyaw Kyaw Naing said that he 
would seize all the cattle and arrest them all if they failed to meet 
his demands.  

Thus, Mr. Leitho and friends paid another 23, 500 Kyats to Lt. Kyaw Kyaw 
Naing on 19th July 2001.  

Mr. Leitho said that their dreams of solving drinking water crisis in 
the village is ruined. 


Xinhua: 442,264 Motor Vehicles in Operation in Myanmar

YANGON, August 9 (Xinhua) -- The number of motor vehicles in operation 
in Myanmar reached 442,264 at the end of March this year, an increase of 
12,109 or 2.8 percent from a year ago, according to a 
government-released figure. The latest issue of the official Economic 
Indicators, published by Myanmar's Central Statistical Organization, 
show that the total registered motor vehicles running in the country 
included 174,749 passenger cars, 53,892 trucks, 16,866 buses and 174,489 
motor cycles. Official statistics show that Myanmar has so far built 
6,819 km of roads since 1988 with its total length extending up to some 
28, 800 km. 


Daily Star (Bangladesh): Exhibition of Bangladeshi goods in Myanmar in 

August 8, 2001

UNB, Dhaka

A solo exhibition of Bangladeshi goods will be held in Myanmar in the 
first week of October to develop an export market there. Besides, Export 
Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh will arrange similar exhibitions of 
Bangladeshi goods in Katmandu and Saudi Arabia soon, EPB director 
Faridul Hasan told a meeting with Chittagong Chamber and 
Bangladesh-Myanmar Business Promotion Council (BMBPC) in Chittagong 

Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Farid Ahmed 
Chowdhury said the huge reserves of bamboo and limestone in the Rakhain 
state of Myanmar, close to Bangladesh border, would be more feasible to 
use commercially by Bangladesh in establishing cement and paper pulp 

But, it is necessary to construct a bridge over the river Naf and 
jetties at the riverbanks on both its two sides to take the advantage 
and turn the trade potential into reality, he said.

"We'll have to develop bilateral economic relation with Myanmar on the 
basis of regional cooperation due to face the reality of competitive 
global economic scenario," said BMBPC chairman Rashed Maksud Khan.

He said other countries will make use of the advantage if the two 
countries fail to utilise the natural resources of both sides despite 
existing opportunities.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia are now considering investment in 
Myanmar due to its resources, he added.

CCCI senior vice president SM Nurul Huq, vice president MA Latif, BMBPC 
vice chairman Syed Mahmudul Huq, EPB Director in Chittagong Kazi 
Mahbubur Rahman, former CCCI president Engr Ali Ahmed and Youngone 
Corporation chairman Kihak Sung also spoke at the meeting, said a press 



AP: Thai defense minister claims satisfaction with military reshuffle 

August 9, 2001

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thai Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh 
said Thursday he was satisfied with the results of the military's annual 
reshuffle, whose most significant aspect was that it kept Army Commander 
Gen. Surayud Chulanont in his job. 

 Chavalit had reportedly sought to have Surayud kicked upstairs to the 
less powerful post of Supreme Commander. 

 Chavalit, who is also a deputy prime minister, was quoted by the state 
Thai News Agency as saying he was very pleased with the reshuffle, which 
was announced late Wednesday. 

 ``The result of the reshuffle is good. It is a mix between seniority 
and capability,'' he said. 

 The position of army commander is considered the most powerful military 
post, and carries with it a lot of political clout. 

 Surayud is generally regarded as an honest and independent reformer, 
not always willing to do the bidding of Chavalit, who stepped down from 
the position of army commander more than a decade ago to enter politics. 
He now heads his own New Aspiration Party. 

 While the annual promotion list is the result of bargaining among the 
military, the defense ministry and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra 
have the ultimate say in deciding appointments. 

 The Bangkok Post newspaper reported Thursday that about 20 former 
classmates and two close relatives of the prime minister were promoted 
in this year's reshuffle. Thaksin graduated from the Armed Forces 
Academies Preparatory School and later from the Police Academy, and left 
police service with the rank of colonel to enter business and later 

 The most high profile promotion was that of Lt. Gen. Wattanachai 
Chaimuanwong, who was promoted to a full general as assistant Army 

 Wattanachai had been commander of the Third Army Region along the 
border with Myanmar, and his aggressive response to tensions with 
Myanmar government troops had put him sharply at odds with the 
conciliatory approach favored by Thaksin's government, especially 


BurmaNet: Thailand Keeps Burma hard-liner as army commander

August p, 2001

The retention of General Surayod Chulanont as Thailand's Army Commander 
raises the likelihood of further armed conflict between Thai and Burmese 
soldiers over the regime's promotion of the narcotics trade.  In the 
normal course of events, Surayod would have been promoted to a 
ceremonial post or retired in order to allow other senior commanders to 
move up.  

The retention of Surayod, despite efforts by Thailand's collaborationist 
Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh to sideline him is perhaps most 
significant in confirming Prime Minister  Thaksin Shinawatra's quiet 
support of robust action to counter the regime's drug allies. In public, 
Thaksin frequently sounds conciliatory notes with respect to Burma and 
ratcheting down the military confrontation.  While Thaksin often sounds 
like his collaborationist Defence Minister Chavalit, he has repeatedly 
though quietly backed the actions of Lt. Gen. Surayod at several crucual 
turns since border fighting began earlier this year at Mae Sai.  In the 
most recent clash, 
three Thai soldiers were killed this week by regime-sponsored Democratic 
Karen Buddhist Army troops  as they were smuggling 500,000 
methamphetamine pills into Thailand.

Over Defence Minister Chavalit's objections, Thaksin has reaffirmed 
operational control of Thai troops, restricting the Defence Minister to 
general policy decisions. Thaksin has also allowed Surayod to continue 
supporting cross border counter-narcotics operations and prevented 
Chavalit from asserting control over Task Force 399, the Joint US-Thai 
military effort to intercept drug traffickers.  Thaksin also allowed 
Surayod to use force to  eject a Burmese-led contingent of United Wa 
State Army troops southwest of Mae Sai and has authorized the deployment 
of most of Thailand's best combat units, its Special Forces,  Armor and 
Armored Cavalry along the border in an arc from Mae Sai to Mae Hong Son.

These troops, who are are carrying full weapon loads, are according to  
to a Thai Third Army spokesman, facing more than 200,000 Burmese 
soldiers just across the

Surayod's retention is unlikely to lead to any immediate action on the 
border as the rainy season slows movement to a crawl.  In keeping 
Surayod though, Thailand's government  has shown it is as serious about 
combatting large scale  drug trafficking as Burma's is in  promoting it. 
  The potential for a collision between these policies could make for a  
 combustible dry season come December and January.


Far Eastern Economic Review: Jet-Fighter Training Needed in Burma

FEER, Issue cover-dated August 16, 2001

    It will take years before the 10 MiG-29 fighter jets that Burma has 
ordered from Russia can be seen as an effective addition to the 
country's antiquated air force, Western military analysts say. Burma 
does not have any pilots qualified to handle modern jet fighters, and 
training will be a major problem. One option, the analysts say, would be 
to hire Russian or other East European pilots to fly the aircraft.

    But given Burmese sensitivities regarding direct foreign 
participation in its defence, it is more likely that the deal to buy the 
aircraft will involve initial training in Russia and the posting of 
Russian instructors to Burma. In the past, Burmese air force personnel 
have been trained in Yugoslavia, Poland and China before the purchase of 
aircraft from those countries, and instructors from China and Russia 
have come briefly to Burma.

    But the likely arrival of more Russian instructors who will stay for 
longer periods--years, even--to train Burmese fighter pilots would mark 
a new era in Burma's foreign military relations. Until now, Chinese 
instructors have been the only foreign military personnel stationed in 
Burma on a long-term basis.

Reuters: Bangladesh says 10 wounded by Myanmar firing

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Bangladesh said on Thursday 
that at least 10 Bangladeshi fishermen were wounded when Myanmar border 
guards fired on them inside Bangladesh territory. 

 ``Myanmar border guards shot and wounded at least 10 of our fishermen 
inside Bangladesh's water territory in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday,'' 
Lt. Col. Rafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan said. 

 He told reporters the guards fired on four Bangladeshi boats fishing 
near Saint Martin's island. Bhuiyan said Bangladesh had lodged a protest 
with the Myanmar government. 


AP: Thai police seize heroin, arrest five suspects 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thai narcotics police announced Thursday that 
they seized 37 kilograms (81.4 pounds) of heroin, the second largest 
such seizure in the country this year. 

 Five suspects, all Thais, were arrested in connection with the seizure, 
said a news release from the Narcotics Suppression police. 

 It said two suspects were arrested Wednesday at a highway checkpoint in 
Kampaengphet, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Bangkok, after police 
stopped and searched their car and found the heroin. 

 The two men confessed that they were smuggling heroin from neighboring 
Myanmar via the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai to customers in 
Bangkok, said police. 
 The other three man were arrested in Bangkok where they were allegedly 
waiting for the drug to be delivered 

 Possession of such a large quantity of heroin is legally considered 
tantamount to trafficking, which carries the death penalty. 

 Last month, police seized another 74 kilograms (162.8 pounds) of 
heroin, arresting seven persons as suspected traffickers. That heroin 
also was said to have come from Myanmar, also known as Burma, the 
worlds' biggest producer of heroin and the opium from which it is 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: Thai officials say 1,600 Myanmar refugees to be repatriated 

MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ About 1,600 refugees from Myanmar will be 
repatriated to their homeland around the middle of this month, Thai 
district officials in the border province of Tak said Wednesday. 
 The refugees have been staying at the Mae La refugee camp, home to 
about 30,000 long-term refugees, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) 
northwest of Bangkok 
 More than 100,000 refugees from Myanmar, mostly from the Karen ethnic 
minority, shelter in Thai border camps after fleeing fighting and mass 

 Referring to those who are to be repatriated, Thasaungyang district 
chief Nirat Phusit said that the office of the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees had determined that ``they are not real 
refugees and they did not flee from a battle area.'' 

 ``They arrived at the refugee camp with the aid of relatives and 
friends,'' he said. 

 Neither the U.N. agency nor Thai military and civilian officials in 
Bangkok were available to take calls to confirm his account. 

 Nirat said the list of names of those to be repatriated had already 
been given to section leaders of the refugee camp, but neither he nor 
other officials would disclose exactly where in Myanmar _ also known as 
Burma _ the refugees would be sent back to. 

 Some refugees said they were worried at the prospect of returning to 
they country. 

 ``I'm sure that we will get a nice beating and other such lessons from 
the Burmese government,'' said one woman refugee, speaking on condition 
of anonymity. ``Another thing is, where are we going to stay in Burma? 
We cannot stay in our villages where our lives are not safe.'' 

 The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has been holding talks with 
Myanmar's military government about their eventual repatriation to 
eastern Myanmar since last year. 

 The Karen refugees fled their homes to escape fighting between 
government forces and Karen guerrillas, who are fighting for autonomy. 
They have refused to sign peace deals unlike other ethnic rebel groups. 

 The Karens are predominantly Christians and a minority in their 
overwhelmingly Buddhist country. 
 The UNHCR has said that the refugees won't be repatriated until the 
fighting ends. The refugees also refuse to return without guarantees of 
safety from the government.	


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