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

BurmaNet News: November 22, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
          November 22, 2001   Issue # 1924
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AFP: Myanmar political prisoners get additional sentences 
*AFP: Re-opening of NLD offices in Myanmar carries only symbolic value 
*Reuters: Myanmar frees four more opposition party members
*Reuters: Myanmar rejects ILO call for permanent presence
*AFP: ILO report on forced labour "difficult to accept": Myanmar 
*AP: Myanmar to take back girls caught up in Thai sex trade 

*Canadian Labour Congress: Shame! Six Canadian companies linked to Burma

*Xinhua: China Smashes Cross-Border Terrorist Organization
*Reuters: China jails rebel leaders on Myanmar border

*AP: Thai police shoot knife-wielding man to death 
*AFP: Thailand funds crop substitution in Myanmar drug areas 
*Xinhua: Anti-Drug Teams Sent to 400 Villages Along Thai-Myanmar Border

*AP: God's army twins reluctant to move to the United States 
*AP: 25 Thai, Myanmar sailors rescued off Vietnam's central coast 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Myanmar political prisoners get additional sentences 

BANGKOK, Nov 20 (AFP) - Myanmar's ruling military junta has extended the 
sentences of 10 political prisoners, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) 
radio reported on late Monday. 

 The 10, including Kyaw Mya, Than Naing, and Bo Bo Han, are currently 
held in a prison in Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar, the 
Oslo-based station's Burmese (Myanmar) language service said in a 
broadcast monitored here. 

 Their terms were extended by an additional seven years for violation of 
prison rules, the radio said quoting official sources in Yangon. No 
further details were given. 
 Opposition radio also reported that the military junta has released 
four other political prisoners of the country's main opposition party, 
the National League for Democracy (NLD). 

 Maung Kyaw, Tin Aung, San Lwin Lay and Hpoe Aye were freed on Monday 
from Mandalay's prison, according to its official sources in Yangon, it 

 "They are all in good health and are reunited with their families," it 
 The latest release brought to 200 the number of NLD members freed this 

 The ruling military regime has also held the NLD's leader, the Nobel 
peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest since September last 
year after she attempted to go to Mandalay in defiance of a travel ban. 

 The pro-democracy party has demanded the release of an estimated 1,500 
political prisoners still being held in Myanmar's jails. 


AFP: Re-opening of NLD offices in Myanmar carries only symbolic value 

YANGON, Nov 21 (AFP) - The re-opening of National League for Democracy 
(NLD) township offices in Myanmar, authorised by the ruling military 
junta in recent months, appears to be mostly a symbolic gesture that has 
left Aung San Suu Kyi's party still unable to function. 

 Twenty-five of the original 40 NLD branch offices shuttered by the 
ruling regime between 1995 and 2000 have been permitted to re-open in 
Yangon in addition to the party's Mandalay headquarters and two other 
township offices. 

 The approval process for the re-opening of the offices has been handled 
on a case-by-case basis, much like the release of Myanmar's political 

 Reinstating the offices and freeing political prisoners have been 
central to the ongoing "confidence building" phase of secret talks 
between Aung San Suu Kyi and the State Peace and Development Council 
(SPDC), which began in October 2000 and are aimed at ushering in 

 But "the re-opening of the offices is essentially symbolic," a top NLD 
official told AFP under the condition of anonymity. 

 Two factors have prevented the township offices from resuming their 
normal activities: an array of stifling restrictions placed on them by 
the SPDC and the NLD's self-imposed discipline to keep a low profile and 
avoid jeopardizing the sensitive talks. 

 United Nations human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro released a 
report earlier this month that catalogued "the unnecessary, 
discriminatory and stringent restrictions" placed on the NLD offices. 

 They include outlawing the use of photocopy or fax machines, the 
disconnection of telephone lines and the requirement of official 
permission from the junta to hold public gatherings. 

 "The top NLD officials are subject to systematic surveillance by police 
and military intelligence personnel, with their movements, contacts and 
communications closely monitored," Pinheiro said. 

 In downtown Yangon, visitors to the NLD's dilapidated headquarters find 
themselves under the watch of plain-clothes government agents taking 
photographs or making notes. 

 Foreign diplomats are of particular interest to intelligence officers 
who closely monitor the office, which miraculously stayed open during 
the closures of other NLD outlets over the past six years. 

 Diplomats in Yangon have also mentioned reports of intimidation 
directed at landlords to prevent them from renting property to open new 
township offices. 

 Even in the party's current state, opinions vary widely on the NLD's 
capacity to carry on. 

 While Myanmar's deputy minister of foreign affairs Khin Maung Win told 
AFP that "they have a normal party life," an Asian diplomat said the 
party has "a limited scope of operation." 

 A top NLD official says the party runs on a 
shoestring, but muddles along quietly. 

 "We are just like an institution living on charity," he said. "We are 
having weekly discussions and regularly dispense food and medicine to 
needy children and send parcels to those in prison and other 
humanitarian activities." 

 Local observers say the NLD in its current form is more like a social 
club than a major political party. 

 "We have been conducting our activities with a very low profile," the 
NLD source added. "We have been very careful not to send the wrong 
signals to the authorities by refraining from public meetings (or) 
taking false steps that might jeopardize the talks." 

 Paradoxically, the party is legally registered in Myanmar, the largest 
alongside nine smaller parties, while its offices are crippled, 810 of 
its members languish in prison and their leader lives under de facto 
house arrest. 

 Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD leader who was awarded a Nobel peace prize 10 
years ago next month, has been confined to her lakeside residence for 
the past 14 months despite calls for her release. 

 "We obviously need the leader of the party to be a free person in order 
to be able to run the party effectively," noted the NLD official. 
"That's why at our anniversary (last September) we again called for her 
unconditional release." 

 "How can you talk about reconciliation and a party being legalised when 
more than 800 members are behind bars?" asked an analyst. "Of course 
it's much better now than when the junta wanted to liquidate the party, 
but there's still a long way to go before the party can operate 

 Indeed, NLD has survived against overwhelming odds. 
 The democratic party, which claimed some three million members before 
the elections of 1990, watched as their landslide victory was undone at 
the hands of the junta. 

 Then in the mid-90s, the regime staged mass meetings to portray NLD 
members as traitors and Aung San Suu Kyi as a pawn of the west. Anti-NLD 
propaganda and endless harassment of members brought about mass 
defections and eroded the party ranks. 

 But today "there are no longer mass arrests of NLD members," according 
to a western diplomat. "The official press has stopped printing 
disinformation and insults about Aung San Suu Kyi" since the landmark 
talks began last year. 
 In August, restrictions were lifted on two of the party's top members 
-- NLD president Aung Shwe and vice-president Tin Oo -- in a move 
welcomed by the party which still enjoys wide support throughout the 

 The ageing opposition leaders together with NLD secretary U Lwin visit 
Aung San Suu Kyi three times a week to discuss party matters. 
 After nearly a decade of adversity, the gradual re-opening of party 
offices has given the NLD a breath of fresh air. 

 "It is a real boost for the party," one observer said. "The 
headquarters are buzzing, everybody is back, people come and go."
 But even with the recent concessions made by the junta to the NLD, the 
party remains, in the words of a top NLD official, "quite helpless." 



Reuters: Myanmar frees four more opposition party members

YANGON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government freed four more 
political prisoners on Monday, bringing to 190 the number of opposition 
activists freed over the last year, the government said in a statement. 

 The ruling generals have been releasing members of the National League 
for Democracy (NLD) since they began secretive landmark peace talks with 
NLD leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, in October 2000. 

 The NLD says the pace of releases is too slow and is worried by lack of 
progress in the talks, which are still said to be only at a ``confidence 
building stage.'' 

 The government rejects this and says it will continue to release 
prisoners when appropriate in an effort to build confidence in the talks 
with the NLD. 

 The NLD won Myanmar's last election in 1990 by a landslide but was 
never allowed to govern. Instead, its members have been detained, 
harassed or placed under house arrest. Suu Kyi has been held in de facto 
house arrest for more than a year. 

 Amnesty International says there are more than 1,500 political 
prisoners in Myanmar's jails. The government disputes this, saying most 
of the prisoners cited are in jail for criminal offences rather than 
political acts. 


Reuters: Myanmar rejects ILO call for permanent presence

November 20, 2001

YANGON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Myanmar said it will not allow the 
International Labour Organisation (ILO) to set up a permanent office in 
the military-ruled country, but will cooperate with the body which 
accuses Yangon of failing to stop forced labour. 
 The announcement late on Monday followed a high-level ILO mission to 
the country and the publication of a report which said an official 
decree to abolish forced labour last year had failed to stamp it out. 

 ``It was found that some of the ILO governing body's conclusions 
include some points that are difficult for Myanmar to accept as well as 
some constructive and positive ones,'' a Myanmar foreign ministry 
statement said. 

 ``Myanmar is not in a position to allow the opening of a permanent 
resident's office of the ILO at the moment...Myanmar will continue to 
cooperate with the ILO where possible,'' it said. 

 Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win said in a briefing to heads of 
foreign missions in Yangon that the government had found all the forced 
labour complaints by the ILO to be groundless. 

 ``Following the transmission by the high level team of some complaints 
regarding forced labour, the authorities concerned launched thorough 
investigations,'' he said. 
``These investigations showed the allegations were baseless and false.'' 

 The ILO in Geneva last week urged Myanmar to accept a permanent 
presence for the United Nations agency and it also called on Myanmar to 
set up a special ombudsman's office to investigate allegations of 
continuing abuse. 

 A high-level ILO mission, which visited Myanmar around two months ago, 
reported that while there had been some progress in eliminating forced 
labour, the practice was still widespread in areas under direct military 



AFP: ILO report on forced labour "difficult to accept": Myanmar 

YANGON, Nov 20 (AFP) - A recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) 
report saying forced labour continued in Myanmar despite an official ban 
contained information that was "difficult to accept," the government 
said Tuesday. 

 Myanmar's ministry of foreign affairs said the report published two 
weeks ago prompted the junta to "express reservations," and repeated its 
rejection of ILO hopes to open a permanent office in the military-ruled 

 "Although the ILO governing body's decision included some positive 
aspects, it was also found that there were certain elements which 
Myanmar finds difficult to accept," the ministry said in a statement. 

 "Myanmar was not in a position at this juncture to allow the ILO to 
establish a permanent office here as it was a delicate matter involving 
Myanmar's sovereignty," it said, quoting Myanmar's ILO ambassador Mya 

 However, the junta said it would "continue to extend its full 
cooperation in every possible way, basing its decision on matters of 
national interest and sovereignty." 

 The report released in Geneva said "forced labour is practised in its 
various forms" for portering, the building of military camps and 
agricultural work in areas under military control and in possible 
conflict areas. 

 Diplomats in Yangon have unanimously praised the report, saying it was 
remarkably well-documented. 

 They added that Myanmar gave unprecedented cooperation to the 
four-member team led by former Australian governor general Sir Ninian 
Stephen, which set out to make a grassroots assessment of forced labour 
throughout the country. 

 While the ILO released few details about the trip, local sources said 
the team also met twice with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has 
been under virtual house arrest at her lakeside home for the past 14 

 Myanmar has been under the spotlight of the ILO since 1998, when after 
several emotional testimonies from former workers, the ILO concluded 
that forced labour there was generalised and systematic. 

 The ILO mission followed the international body's unprecedented censure 
of Myanmar last year, when it threatened to impose more sanctions on the 
country if it failed to curb forced labour. 


AP: Myanmar to take back girls caught up in Thai sex trade 

MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ Myanmar girls rescued from prostitution in 
Thailand will be rehabilitated and then sent home through official 
channels under a new aid project, a Thai official said Monday. 

 It's the first time that authorities in military-run Myanmar have 
agreed to cooperate in repatriating women who have been caught in 
Thailand's burgeoning flesh trade. 

 Last month, 35 girls were returned to Myanmar via the Mae Sai-Tachilek 
checkpoint in northern Thailand, said Saisuree Chutikul, who is member 
of Thailand's National Youth Commission. 

 The transfer was organized through the project by the international aid 
group, World Vision, to prevent trafficking in women and children. The 
British-funded, dlrs 100,000 project will last three years. It began in 
July but had its opening ceremony Monday. 

 In the past, girls sent back to the border and left to fend for 
themselves would often return to Thailand. Now they can be received by 
the Myanmar Department of Social Welfare. 

 Saisuree said most of the Myanmar girls, sometimes as young as 13 or 14 
years, take up prostitution so they can send back money to their 
impoverished families in Myanmar. 

 She cited such girls as saying 500 baht (dlrs 11.35) _ which a 
prostitute might earn a day _ was adequate to feed a family in Myanmar 
for two weeks or more. She said many of the girls were illiterate. 

 ``The root of the problem is in Myanmar. To prevent it, we must help 
families to make a living. So we have to encourage NGOs and the U.N. to 
help create family incomes in Myanmar,'' she said in the Thai border 
town of Mae Sot, 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of Bangkok. 

 The new project will help girls rescued from Thai brothels and bars by 
sending them to a shelter in Bangkok where they can get schooling and 
vocational training for a few months before they are ready to go back to 
Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. 

 Chartchai Maneekarn of World Vision said that to facilitate this, the 
group would set up offices at the three major checkpoints on the more 
than 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) Thai-Myanmar land border: Mae Sot, Mae 
Sai and Ranong. 

 Saisuree estimated that there were 200,000 prostitutes in Thailand, 
about 20 percent aged under 18 years. Growing numbers of sex workers are 
migrants from poorer countries in the region like Myanmar, Laos, 
Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China, she said. 



Canadian Labour Congress: Shame! Six Canadian companies linked to Burma

    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - The names of six companies based in Canada,
including Air Canada and Ivanhoe Mines, made the list of 250 companies 
links to the oppressive state of affairs in Burma, released by the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

    "Cases of forced labour have and continue to be documented in Burma, 
much so that it is the only country on the planet the International 
Organization (ILO) is boycotting," said Canadian Labour Congress 
President Ken
Georgetti, pointing out that the ILO is a tripartite organization of 
governments and employers, all of which support the boycott.

    The ICFTU has compiled a database of companies with business links 
Burma, based on publicly available information. The following Canadian
companies appear:

    - Air Canada
    - CHC Helicopter Corporation - based in Richmond, BC and St.John's 
    - East Asia Gold Corp. - based in Toronto
    - Leeward Capital Corp. (Amber-Gems.com) - based in Calgary
    - Mindoro Resources Ltd. - based in Edmonton
    - Ivanhoe Mines - based in Vancouver

    A military dictatorship has ruled Burma for years. There are not 
forced labour and other serious human and trade union rights abuses on a 
scale, there is not freedom of association and no democracy. The 
trade union movement believes that it is impossible to conduct any trade 
engage in other economic activity with Burma without providing direct or
indirect support, mostly financial, to the military junta.
    "Any business involvement in Burma is an accommodation with tyranny. 
supports a corrupt and repressive military regime that has never been 
any legitimacy by the people of Burma," said Georgetti.

    For more information about these companies, and their links to 
visit this web page:


    The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour 
represents 2.5 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together the 
of Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial 
territorial federations of labour and 132 district labour councils. Web 


Xinhua: China Smashes Cross-Border Terrorist Organization

KUNMING, November 22 (Xinhua) -- China has rounded up a cross- border 
terrorist organization in Yunnan Province, leading to the sentencing of 
six members of the gang to various jail terms. Huang Yuequan, 37, who 
masterminded the Myanmar Democratic Allied Army, was sentenced to 14 
years in jail by the intermediate people's court of Dehong Prefecture. 
Five other members were sentenced to between one and seven years in 
jail. According to the court investigation, Huang and Ruan Guoquan, 47, 
began to plot the establishment of the organization in December 2000, 
and sought the assistance of a Myanmar terrorist organization in the 

On January 1, 2001, the organization was formed in a Myanmar gambling 
house, with Huang as the commander and Ruan as the chief of staff. They 
soon began to recruit members from China and Myanmar. Zhai Ruiqiang, Luo 
Dong, Han Liangbu and Yang Rongying from China became members. The 
Myanmar Democratic Allied Army had weapons, uniforms, credentials, 
symbols and rules. With some 22 members given secret military training, 
the organization engaged in kidnapping, robbery and other crimes, 
netting them 50,000 yuan RMB. In April this year, they demanded 
protection money from a Myanmar gambling house and plotted a military 
raid on the police station in Mujie, a border town on the Chinese side. 
Another member, identified as "old Meng", is still on the run, local 
police said. 


Reuters: China jails rebel leaders on Myanmar border

BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) - China has jailed six leaders of what it 
called a multinational terrorist organisation fighting Myanmar's ruling 
military junta from southwestern China, a local court official said on 

 The six, all Chinese citizens, were members of a group called the 
``Myanmar Democratic Union Army'' which carried out kidnappings and 
armed robberies in China's southwestern province of Yunnan and plotted 
to attack police and civilians in Myanmar, he said. 

 The group was formed last year in the Chinese city of Ruili on the 
Myanmar border by Huang Yuequan, a former member of a Myanmar military 
faction, to raise support for another Myanmar military faction, the 
court official told Reuters. 

 ``The leader of the group said he hated the Myanmar government for 
killing many Chinese and he was taking revenge,'' the court official 
said, without elaborating. 
 It was not immediately clear which military faction Huang was involved 
with and the Myanmar embassy declined to comment. 

 There are many ethnic Chinese living just over the border from China in 
Myanmar's Kokang region, a major poppy-producing area partly controlled 
by the rebel Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. 

 Huang, originally from the southwestern city of Chengdu, recruited 22 
people and gave them military training, the official Xinhua news agency 
 Operating from its headquarters in a casino on the Myanmar side of the 
border, the group carried out two kidnappings and countless armed 
robberies, it said. 

 The court official said police had caught about 15 of the group's 
members and they were awaiting trial. 

 Huang was sentenced to 14 years in prison while the other five leaders 
were given sentences ranging from one to seven years, he said. 
 Cross-border cooperation between China and Myanmar has increased since 
an accord signed in January to try and stem the tide of illegal drugs 
from the region. 


AP: Thai police shoot knife-wielding man to death 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A drug-crazed man in northern Thailand who was 
chasing villagers around with a knife was shot dead by police Wednesday. 

 The man, who was not identified by the police, was shot three times as 
he lunged at an officer trying to calm him down, said police Lt. Col. 
Suthep Kanrach. 

 He said that villagers in the mountainous Chanchawa village, 
half-an-hour's drive from the northern city of Chiang Rai, said the man 
was from neighboring Myanmar and high on the illegal stimulant 

 They said he ran through the village of 300 households trying to strike 
out at everyone he met. No villagers were reported injured, said Suthep. 

 The shooting came in the wake of public criticism of police handling of 
another case in Bangkok earlier this month in which a man high on 
methamphetamine took a 20-year-old female college student hostage and 
stabbed her to death before police could rescue her. 

 The man was afterward lynched by angry onlookers. 

 The incident prompted calls from the public for police to use 
sharpshooters to end hostage-takings, which have become increasingly 
frequent with the spread of methamphetamine. 

 Thai authorities consider the trafficking and consumption of 
methamphetamine a threat to national security because of its deleterious 
social effects. They alleged that the drug is produced inside Myanmar 
_also known as Burma _ and smuggled into Thailand in huge quantities.



AFP: Thailand funds crop substitution in Myanmar drug areas 

BANGKOK, Nov 19 (AFP) - Thailand has set aside almost half a million 
dollars to fund crop substitution programs in drug-infested areas along 
the border with Myanmar, a Thai minister said Monday. 

 Prime minister's office minister General Thamarak Issarangkun Na 
Ayutthaya said a tripartite meeting between Thailand, Myanmar and ethnic 
Wa leaders, who control a semi-autonomous region in Myanmar, would 
discuss the plan. 
 Thailand hopes to encourage members of the Wa ethnic group who live 
along the mountainous border to change from growing opium to other 
economically viable crops, he said. 

 "Thailand has given initial funding of 20 million baht (450,000 
dollars) for a crop substition program in the Wa-controlled area," 
Thamarak told reporters, adding that the project would begin in the 
border town of Mong Tum. 

 He added that Thailand will also send experts to assist the Wa in the 
border area to support local farmers who have switched to traditional 
crops as a means of pressuring others still involved in the narcotics 

 The crop substitution plan would also be aimed at drug traffickers 
operating in the region.
 "The program could curb major drug dealers and make drug trafficking 
more difficult," Thamarak added. 

 Myanmar is one of the world's main producers of illicit drugs, which 
come from the opium-rich Golden Triangle region where the borders of 
Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. 

 Cheap methamphetamine pills, known in Thailand as ya baa, or crazy 
medicine, have replaced opiates as the drug of choice in recent years. 

 An estimated 800 million tablets were trafficked in Thailand last year, 
up from 100 million in 1998, mostly from jungle laboratories on the 
Myanmar side of the border, according to the United Nations. 

Xinhua: Anti-Drug Teams Sent to 400 Villages Along Thai-Myanmar Border

BANGKOK, November 19 (Xinhua) -- The Internal Security Operations 
Command (ISOC) of Thailand had sent 65 anti-drug teams to fight spread 
of drugs in about 400 villages along the Thai- Myanmar border, the 
Bangkok Post reported here Monday. ISOC spokesman Burapa Tawichi was 
quoted as saying that the teams had not only conduct psychological 
operations in methamhetamine-infested villages but also had opened 240 
camps to train community leaders to fight the spread of drugs. According 
to the officer, the amount of spread pills which seized along the border 
dropped to 2.03 million pills in October, compared to 3.54 million in 
September. In total, 73.27 million speed pills had been seized this 
year, the Bangkok Post said. 


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: God's army twins reluctant to move to the United States 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ The mystical teen twins who led a three-year 
jungle rebellion against Myanmar's military regime prefer to stay as 
refugees in Thailand than migrate to the United States, people who met 
them recently say. 

 U.S. Embassy officials visited Johnny and Luther Htoo at least twice 
since May after the Thai government asked the United States to consider 
accepting the twins and their family for resettlement. Thai officials 
are keen to complete the process by the year's end. 

 An embassy spokeswoman said no decision has yet been made about the 
twins' future. 

 Johnny and the chain-smoking Luther, believed to be aged 15, 
surrendered to Thai authorities in January after the ragtag God's Army 
they led for more than three years broke up under assault from the army 
of neighboring Myanmar, also known as Burma. 

 The twins _ once fabled by comrades as invulnerable to bullets and land 
mines _ have since been confined to a secure Thai border police base 
with their mother, father, two sisters and about 20 mostly young 

 Toby Bryce, a New York-based writer who visited the twins twice in 
August to research a novel based on God's Army, said they ``were adamant 
in their desire to be with their people,'' which would probably mean 
staying in a refugee camp. 

 Initially the twins were excited at the prospect of ``going to the land 
of Hollywood and Rambo'' but that feeling had waned, Bryce said in a 
telephone interview Wednesday from the United States. 

 ``Ultimately they want to return to Burma, but they realize it's not 
safe for them now,'' he said. 

 He said a peaceful environment at the police base had mellowed the 
twins, who only speak Karen language. If resettled in the United States, 
they could join one of a couple of Karen communities in New York state 
and California, he said. 

 ``When I met Luther I expected a brat, but he was the sweetest kid you 
could imagine, no craziness and 1,000-yard stare,'' Bryce said. 

 According to international practice, refugee resettlement must be 

 Two other people who saw the twins in recent weeks confirmed their 
reluctance to leave Thailand but eagerness to get on with their lives. 
Both sources requested anonymity to safeguard the work they do with 
Karen refugees in Thailand. 

 Thai authorities rejected requests to interview the twins this week. 

 The twins, who are Christian, acquired mystical status after Myanmar 
troops entered their village during a 1997 sweep of areas inhabited by 
the country's Karen minority. Johnny and Luther reputedly rallied some 
locals and directed a successful 

 The God's Army was mostly comprised of child guerrillas but emerged as 
a significant splinter group of a larger ethnic Karen rebellion that has 
endured for five decades. 

 The death knell for God's Army came in early 2000 when it fell out of 
favor with Thailand. Its border camp was shelled by the Thai army, 
prompting a handful of its fighters and allied student radicals to take 
hostages at a Thai hospital. Thai commandos shot dead all 10 hostage 
takers to release the captives. 

 Soon after, God's Army scattered into the forest at the Thai-Myanmar 
border as it came under attack from Myanmar forces. After nearly a year 
on the run, the twins gave themselves up. 

 Aid workers said Thailand remains reluctant to put the boys in one of 
its border camps where more than 100,000 mostly Karen refugees from 
Myanmar are sheltered, fearing the twins could become a rallying point 
for discontent with poor camp conditions. 

 They could also pose a security risk, as Myanmar-backed armed groups 
have previously launched cross-border raids on refugee camps in 
Thailand. The Myanmar regime says the camps are used to shelter 
anti-government insurgents.



AP: 25 Thai, Myanmar sailors rescued off Vietnam's central coast 

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) _ Vietnamese border guards and fishermen rescued 25 
Thai and Myanmarese sailors after their ship sank off Vietnam's central 
coast, an official said Monday. 

 The Thai cargo ship, which was carrying 6,100 tons of plaster from 
Bangkok to Vietnam's northern Thanh Hoa province, sank off the coast of 
Quang Ngai province Sunday morning after hitting a reef, the border 
guard official said. 

 The 23 Thai and two Myanmarese sailors stayed on two lifeboats for an 
hour before being rescued by Vietnamese border guards and fishermen, he 
 The official said the rescued sailors were being cared for and 
Vietnamese authorities would contact the Thai Embassy to arrange their 



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@xxxxxxxxxxxx

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 fax:

(US) +1(413)604-9008


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 
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)


This email was sent to: reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxx

EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?b1dbSX.b1CGhI
Or send an email to: burmanet-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!