NLD Blames Junta for UN’s Failed Mission

RANGOON — The UN secretary-general’s visit to military-ruled Burma was a failure but it was not his fault, the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi said Sunday.

The failure was because of “a lack of willingness and genuine goodwill on the part of the government,” said Nyan Win, spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon ended a two-day mission to Burma on Saturday, saying he was “deeply disappointed” that the country’s military ruler had rejected his requests to visit Suu Kyi in jail.

“Mr. Ban’s visit was not successful, as he was unable to achieve his main goals and was not allowed to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Nyan Win. “It is understandable that the secretary-general was disappointed.”

“Daw” is a term of respect used for older women.

In two days of rare talks with Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the UN chief urged the reclusive 76-year-old autocrat to release Suu Kyi and an estimated 2,100 other political prisoners and embark on democratic reforms ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

The visit achieved no immediate results. Continue reading “NLD Blames Junta for UN’s Failed Mission”

DKBA-Tatmadaw Look to Brigade 5

The combined forces of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Burmese army have turned their attention northward as they look to capitalize on their recent successful campaign of capturing the Karen National Liberation Army’s (KNLA’s) Brigade 7 by launching a military assault on the KNLA’s Brigade 5 in northern Karen State, according to Karen sources.

The DKBA have mobilized battalions 333 and 555, Karen relief groups reported.

Poe Shen, a field director for the Karen Human Rights Group, said, “DKBA troops have now become more active in KNLA Brigade 5 areas. They are also restricting the local villagers’ movements.”

A joint force of Burmese army and DKBA troops seized the headquarters of the KNLA Brigade 7 in Pa-an district on June 21.

Meanwhile, about 20 clashes broke out in KNLA Brigade 5 areas throughout June and an estimated 16 Burmese soldiers were killed, including one commander, while 39 were injured, according to a Karen news organization, Kwe Ka Lu.

Observers and Karen sources along the border said the joint force intends to clean up the KNLA-controlled areas along the border before the Burmese regime holds its planned general election in 2010.

Sources said that since the fall of KNLA Brigade 7, the DKBA-Tatmadaw (Burmese army) joint force will turn its attention to the KNLA’s southernmost outpost, Brigade 6, before turning its attention back to the conflict with the KNLA in Brigade 5, which will most likely resume in September or October.

As per its agreement with the Burmese regime to take over as a border guard force, the DKBA has been assigned the role of cleaning up the KNLA areas and enforcing its troop strength along the Thai-Burmese border.

In order to complete its assignment as a border guard force with each battalion comprising 326 soldiers, the DKBA is aggressively recruiting new members at present, sources said.

“Because of its battalion number responsibilities, the DKBA is now recruiting villagers to serve as soldiers,” said a DKBA source. Military training by Burmese commanders will also follow the recruitment, he added.

He said that the DKBA and the Burmese regime were aiming to operate border trade from KNLA Brigade 6 in the south up to Brigade 5 in the north, after the battle is won.

Both sides confirmed that DKBA soldiers are presently engaged in clearing landmines in the areas seized during its offensive on KNLA brigades 7 and 6.

According to the Karen National Union (KNU), the political wing of the KNLA, on June 18 a clash broke out between KNLA soldiers and the Burmese army in Brigade 6. The KNU said nine Burmese soldiers were killed or injured while one KNLA soldier was killed in the skirmish.

A force of Burmese army soldiers and DKBA troops has been launching military offensives in KNLA Brigade 7 sine June 2, resulting in about 4,000 Karen villagers fleeing to Thailand for safety.


Mongla leader eulogizes 20 year peace with junta

MONDAY, 06 JULY 2009 15:42 S.H.A.N.
It was the ceasefire agreement, and the resulting peace that had made the social and economic developments in his 4,952 sqkm Special Region #4 on the the Sino-Burma border possible, according to a prepared speech in Shan by Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian on 30 June, marking the 20th anniversary of the historic event in 1989.

Prior to 1989, the people had been able to produce only half of the whole year’s food, but the 2007 statistics showed that the people’s per capita income has reached K 199,000 ($200).

Apart from that, a 380 km road network has been built, 90% paved, for the 80,000 people under his leadership as well as 118 schools with 6,163 teachers and students. He thanked NGOs such as HU and Malteser for their assistance as well as the 21 Chinese firms that had made investments in his domain.

Ever careful with his words, Sai Leun, 63, made abundant use of the official jargon such as “The Three Causes” (Non-disintegration of the Union, Non-disintegration of National Solidarity and Perpetuation of National Sovereignty) and “under the guidance of the national government.”

Wa crashes, militia booms

The growing tensions between the Burma Army and the ceasefire groups since April have practically put a stop to the United Wa State Army’s drug operations along the Thai-Burma border, according to an informed source from eastern Shan State.

“All those previously working with the Wa in Mongton, Monghsat and Tachilek (the three townships facing Maehongson, Chiangmai and Chiangrai) are either closing shop or moving up to the north,” he said.

The resulting vacuum is being filled up by the junta-backed militia forces that are being expanded, trained and armed by the Burma Army to be employed in the event of war with either the UWSA or Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, or both. The best known among them are Punako and Kya Tey in Monghsat township and Nampong in Tachilek township.

Each of them is said to have one heroin factory in their respective areas assigned by the Burma Army. “Anyone who wants to grow poppies has to get himself/herself registered with the local militia,” he said. “And if any of them needs a starting capital, they will furnish it on condition that the loan will be repaid in kind. The crop is also not to be sold to outsiders except those authorized by the group concerned.” Continue reading “Wa crashes, militia booms”

Shan candidates running on junta ticket warned

MONDAY, 06 JULY 2009 15:04 S.H.A.N.
Shans who are considering invitation by the country’s ruling military council to contest the upcoming elections must see to it that they obtain prior consent of the people in their respective constituencies, a leader of an armed opposition group recently told SHAN.

He was speaking in response to SHAN’s query: “Some prominent Shans who have been approached by junta officials to enter elections in the yet-to-be-formed party’s banner have expressed concern. If they don’t accept the invitation, they will run risk of being included in the junta’s blacklist and if they do, they will run another kind of risk – ostracism by their own Shan community, and worse, termination by the armed movements such as yours. What do you suggest they do?”

“We won’t bother anyone whom the people are willing to vouch for,” he promised. “But no responsibility shall be taken for anyone who fails to seek the people’s approval first. Whatever happens to them, they have only themselves to blame.”

Halfway through 2009, there is no indication of an impending announcement on the election law by the country’s military rulers. However, since official go-ahead was given to the junta-drafted constitution in May 2008, government officials, government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) officials and those from the National Unity Party (NUP) that was formed by the military in 1988 have already been busy canvassing for popular support.

Shan, the biggest state in the Union, has several armed groups. Those that enjoy ceasefire agreement with Rangoon include United Wa State Army (UWSA), and Shan State Army “North” to name a few. Non-ceasefire groups include Shan State Army (SSA) “South”, PaO National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and Wa National Organization (WNO).