HURFOM: Inhabitants of eight village tracts are being required to work as unpaid security guards along the Thanbyuzayat to Ye motor road. Headmen in the area are also being threatened with 2 to 7 year prison sentences if rebels make any attacks.

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Eight village tracts forced to provide unpaid, 24-hour road sentries
January 11, 2009
HURFOM: Inhabitants of eight village tracts are being required to work as unpaid security guards along the Thanbyuzayat to Ye motor road. Headmen in the area are also being threatened with 2 to 7 year prison sentences if rebels make any attacks.
The threat was issued to headman on December 11th, in a meeting convened by Colonel Khin Maung Cho, 1st Commander of Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 106. The meeting was attended by headmen from Wae-Kha-Mi, Bay-Lamine Ka-Nin-Ka-Moh village tracts in Thanbyuzayat Township and Bae-La-Mu, Don-Phee, Hnin-Sone, Ayu-Taung and Kyaung-Ywa village tracts in Ye Township. Each village tract is home to 2 to 3 villages.
According to a local resident, 38, who is close to a headman who attended the meeting, Khin Maung Cho pressured the headmen to increase security in their areas. “Colonel Khin Maung Cho pushed them [the village headmen] very hard in the meeting. He threatened them with punishment of 7 year prison sentences for village tract headmen and 2 year sentences for village headmen if government forces are attacked by armed rebels in LIB No. 106 controlled areas,” said the source. “No one has been affected by Khin Maung Cho’s order yet, but I am sure that this new demand frightens them and pushes them hard to keep their village more secure.” HURFOM has received reports of at least one clash between the Karen National Liberation Army and Burmese army battalion since the meeting, but could not confirm whether the promised penalties have been issued.
A source in Hnin-Sone village confirmed that troops in the area have been ordering villagers to increase security measures since early December. “We have been forced to guard the road since early December, for 24 hours a day on a rotating basis. My household has to guard twice a month. When I have time, I go on patrol and sometimes my eldest son goes instead,” said Saw Tae, 65. “We are too poor to pay [to exempt our household from guard duty]. The headman ordered us to pay 3,000 kyat per day to hire another person if we do not patrol the road. Some other families pay for hiring another wage-earner through the village headmen.”
A source in Ka-Nin-Ka-Moh village described similar circumstances. “On December 19th, Colonel Than Win from LIB No. 587 ordered all households to patrol the motor road [connecting Thanbyuzayat to Ye] and watch for rebel movements near the village. We also have to build at least 7 huts along the road for the security providers [the villagers] to stay in while they guard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All duties are organized on a rotation. I have been forced to guard two times already for village and road security,” said Nai Non, 45. “Commander Than Win demanded another group [separate from the road sentries] to record any strangers who pass through the area including every means of transport which is used on the road each day. They are required to take notes on trucks, cars, and motorcycle with their license numbers.”
Villagers in the area have repeatedly been required to work as unpaid security guards, but a teacher from northern Ye explained that the recent orders differ from previous directives. In times past, he said, villagers were made to focus on village and pipeline security, rather than the motor-road. A gas pipeline connecting the Yadana gas fields to a cement factory in Myaing-Kalay traverses most of Mon State and passes through the Wae-kha-mi, Ka-nin-ka-moh and Ayu-taung village tracts.
Villagers, rather then headman, were also the ones held responsible in previous time, the source explained. “The Burmese commanders are behaving unlike they have ever behaved before,” he said. “This time, the headmen themselves are going to be victims.”
http://rehmonnya.org/archives/574

United Nations Worried Over Nigeria’s Donation To Myanmar

the guardian,From Laolu Akande New York

NIGERIA’S donation of a whopping $500,000 to the military junta in Myanmar few weeks ago is raising questions at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. An official of the Presidency arrived New York two days to Christmas to deliver the check at a hurriedly put together bilateral meeting between the Nigerian Ambassador, Prof. Joy Ugwu, and her Myanmar counterpart at the UN building.

But for the invitation to few members of the UN press, the event would have passed unnoticed and branded a secret deal. Even Nigeria’s former Foreign Affairs Minister who is a UN’s top official on Myanmar was not aware of the donation. A source at the Nigerian mission disclosed that even top Nigerian diplomats at the UN could could not explain the transaction any better than, that the whole affair was an “order from the headquarters (Abuja).” continue
http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/news/article01/indexn2_html?pdate=110109&ptitle=United%20Nations%20Worried%20Over%20Nigeria’s%20Donation%20To%20Myanmar

READ also UNITED NATIONS, December 25 — Two days before Christmas, Myanmar’s mission to the UN got a gift with no strings attached. In the dimly-lit Indonesia Lounge next to the General Assembly chamber, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu handed her counterpart from Myanmar Kyaw Tint Swe a check for $500,000. This was Nigeria’s response to the UN’s plea for funds to continue to respond to Cyclone Nargis, which hit in May.

The UN has been exposed, first by Inner City Press, for allowing the military government of Myanmar to take 25% of aid funds through currency exchange. Nigeria gave its money directly, in U.S. dollars, and apparently with no requirement to report back on how the funds are used. This is the type of hard currency for which Senior General Than Shwe is desperate. continue http://www.innercitypress.com/joy1myanmar122508.html

According to official statistics, Myanmar exported 399,596 cubic-meters of teak and 1.12 million cubic-meters of hardwood in the fiscal year of 2007-08, gaining a total of 538 million U.S. dollars of foreign exchange.

Private companies in Myanmar propose to cultivate more timber-by chinaview
YANGON, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — Local private companies in Myanmar have proposed to the government to cultivate 81,000 hectares more of timber in two division and state for the development of the sector, the Voice weekly reported Sunday, quoting the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. continue
http://english.eviewweek.com/Private-companies-in-Myanmar-propose-to-cultivate-more-timber.shtml

BTW All Companies inside are running from Junta crownies,they got the money.Same on Hotels, Guesthouses and …..

Not standing up and being counted on Burma THE Philippines missed out on a gilt-edged chance to make a principled stand on the burning question of Myanmar—or Burma

by manilatimes, THE Philippines missed out on a gilt-edged chance to make a principled stand on the burning question of Myanmar—or Burma as the civilized world remembers this beautiful country and its gentle people before both were brutalized by the pariah generals, led by Senior Pariah Than Shwe, who have turned the country into their personal fiefdom.

When the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on the discredited military junta to free all political prisoners, including Nobel Peace Prize winner—and the country’s legitimate leader as overwhelmingly decreed by the people in the last free and democratic election ever held in that country—Aung San Suu Kyi, the Philippines joined Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore in abstaining. continue http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2009/jan/12/yehey/opinion/20090112opi3.html

Karen rebels under the gun along Thai-Burma border

180px-karen_national_union_flag1Sunday, 11 January 2009 12:49

Mae Sot (Mizzima) – Burma’s ethnic Karen rebels are facing another daunting challenge, as a Burmese military campaign designed to hunt out opposition forces and put an end to the world’s longest running civil war is intensifying along a sliver of land opposite northwest Thailand.

The Sixth Brigade of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed-wing of the Karen National Union (KNU), is presently engaged in a desperate battle for survival near Thailand’s mountainous Umphang region, south of the border town of Mae Sot.

Their base camp, which was a relatively new settlement once equipped with solar power, a medical clinic, potable water and fish holding tanks, has been razed to the ground by Burmese soldiers.

From a secret location on the Thai-Burma border, KNU Vice-Chairman David Thackerbaw said government soldiers were maintaining a “scorched earth policy” against not only the KNLA, but also Karen civilians.

The KNLA, waging the world’s longest running civil war, has been battling successive Burmese regimes over six decades in a bid to win self-determination.

While the KNLA steadfastly maintains it has avoided casualties during the Burmese Army’s latest offensive, its soldiers are now sleeping rough in dense jungle that provides a modicum of security under the cover of darkness. In the daytime they move.

Working alongside Burmese Army troops in the hunt for KNLA troops are soldiers from a splinter Karen faction, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). The Burmese Army and the DKBA, working in tandem, are reportedly using Thailand as a launching pad for attacks because the terrain is more navigable and void of the danger of landmines.

The DKBA was established in 1994 following the bloody fallout between rival KNU and KNLA leaders; Buddhist commanders said to have upset over the perceived dominance of leadership roles doled out to Christians within the organization.

On the evening of Saturday January 3, 2009, the latest offensive by the Burmese Army and DKBA – reportedly consisting of more than 200 men – wrested control of the rebel base camp from the KNLA, who found themselves hopelessly outnumbered and forced to withdraw.

The camp had provided the only medical facility for more than 800 villagers clustered in two nearby settlements.

Also as a result of the latest offensive, more than 300 people, their homes reduced to ashes, are now purportedly huddled under makeshift shelters, protected from marauding Burmese Army and DKBA troops by Thai soldiers.

On Sunday and Monday of the previous week, low-flying Thai military helicopters plied the skies between Mae Sot and the Umphang region, delivering reinforcements and materials to both border forces and the latest batch of refugees to flee the contested region.

In a nervy interview in Mae Sot last Tuesday night, the KNLA’s Colonel Nerdah Mya said his base camp was in cinders and that he was heading back into this war’s newest theatre on Wednesday in a bid to “put everything back together again.”

“We have to find a new location. We have no location at the moment and are always on the move,” expounded the Colonel.

Nerdah Mya, the son of recently deceased Karen leader Bo Mya, said about 20 DKBA and government soldiers had been wounded by landmines and that while some were being treated in the field, others had been sent to Umphang and Mae Sot hospitals for amputations.

However, he insisted the situation was not critical for his men.

“We have been coping with this type of situation for many years now, sometimes they send many soldiers to occupy the entire area, but if we keep moving we can get around them,” Nerdah Mya added.

The KNLA’s hold on the area has for years been tenuous at best.

The region in question, which surrounds a stretch of land between Thailand and Burma known as Phop Phra, is rich in minerals, including antimony and gold mines as well as zinc and tin deposits.

Taiwanese and Thai businessmen are constantly seeking to exploit the resources but are generally defeated by the fact that no matter which side they deal with, adequate security cannot be guaranteed.

The battle for control of this region began in earnest last year in late June, when torrential rains were still pounding the area almost daily. Since then Thailand’s sovereignty has reportedly been repeatedly compromised by both DKBA and Burmese government troops.

At times the Thais have resorted to lobbing mortars at Burmese battalions whose stray shells have forced the evacuation of Thai villages.

Phop Phra was once home to one of Thailand’s finest teak stands. It was logged by the KNU in decades past, when the organization was on good terms with Thai authorities and viewed as a convenient buffer force between Thai and Burmese troops. Now the region’s red clay soil, utterly deforested, is home to fields of corn.

But the farmers who grow the corn to sell to Thai businessmen are now forced to pay taxes to both the DKBA and the KNLA for safe passage through their respective territories.

December and early January, regarded as the cold season along the Thai-Burmese border, is the best time to reap corn seed, which fetches a higher price than fresh cobs. However, much of the current crop figures to go to waste as the latest round of hostilities enters into its seventh month.

Sergio Carmada, a co-founder of the Italian non-governmental organization Popoli, which provided seed, ploughshares and motorcycles toward the KNLA’s current crop and also helped fund Colonel Nerdah’s destroyed base camp, previously offered his view of this war that began in 1948.

“In my opinion war for identity is not very popular around the world,” stated Carmada.

“War for democracy is very popular. You can destroy towns and kill hundreds of thousands of people for that. For democracy you can kill everyone. For identity – it’s not allowed anymore,” he said.

A founder of the Free Burma Rangers, U Wa A Pa – a nom de plume of a former foreign soldier, disregards the DKBA as uneducated oafs who don’t know what they are fighting for, or why.

He further agrees with the KNU’s David Thackerbaw that the Burmese Army is employing a scorched-earth policy. He says the situation is even worse for inhabitants of western Karen state as compared with those nearer to Thailand, with villages and crops being constantly torched.

Free Burma Rangers provides medical support for villagers on the run from Burmese Army troops in remote areas.

“I think given a realistic option they [the DKBA] would change sides in a day”, he said. “But they need to see that the KNLA can win. They want to be on the winning side.”

But alas, today, a KNLA victory seems the most unlikely of scenarios. http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1529-karen-rebels-under-the-gun-along-thai-burma-border.html

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/fresh-offensive-on-thai-burmese-border/

http://democracyforburma.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/the-idps-of-eastern-burma-rely-on-cross-border-aid-and-intrepid-groups-such-as-the-free-burma-rangers-fbr-and-the-back-pack-health-worker-teams-nowhere-to-hide/