Burma junta deploys more troops to Kokang territory

TUESDAY, 02 FEBRUARY 2010 15:25

The Burmese military is intensifying the pressure on two armed ethnic groups in the northeast, by sending more troops to the militarily strategic Kokang territory, according to local eyewitnesses.

Hundreds of fresh Burmese troops were transported to the frontlines east of the Salween River, by crossing the Thapa Bridge.Area residents said the area was captured in August, 2009, from the Peng Jiasheng-led Kokang rebels, also called the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

A local eyewitness told the Kachin News Group today, the Burmese troops, from the Meiktila-based Light Infantry Division (LID) 99, were transported to the captured area in more than 30 military trucks, on January 8th.

No Burmese soldiers, already deployed in the territory, withdrew after the arrival of the reinforcements, according to local people.

A villager said, “Just 20 trucks went back empty. It might be the buildup to war with the Kachin and Wa”. Continue reading “Burma junta deploys more troops to Kokang territory”

ABMO_Monks declared ‘Boycott’ against Suu Kyi’s brother

TUESDAY, 02 FEBRUARY 2010 15:28

The All Burma Monks Organization (ABMO) has declared Aung San Oo, brother of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as unethical and rejected his association with Buddhism for not withdrawing a case filed against his detained younger sister.

The ABMO, in their statement, said as Aung San Oo has failed to reply to them by the January 31 deadline they have given him, they would impose religious sanction, known as ‘Pattani Kuzanakan’, an act of boycott by the monks, on him and his wife Le Le Nwe Thein.

The secret monk’s organization sent a letter to him on January 24, asking him to withdraw the case he had filed against his sister, Aung San Suu Kyi. The monks said, filing an inheritance case on the estate and filing the letter of administration of this inheritance are tantamount to harassing Suu Kyi and attempting to evict her from the house, which they interpret as attack against the people.

Pattani Kuzanakan, in Buddhist canon, means imposing boycott against the offender and prohibits any monks from accepting offertories and preaching sermon to the offender and literally outcast them from the Buddhist society.

But the monks said, they are willing to withdraw all religious sanctions against them if Aung San Oo withdraws the cases and objections filed against his sister, Aung San Suu Kyi under various laws. Continue reading “ABMO_Monks declared ‘Boycott’ against Suu Kyi’s brother”

Trafficked migrants languish in Australian detention center

Tue 02 Feb 2010, IMAN, Khatter Non
Migrant workers from Burma are still detained in an Australian refugee camp, after making a failed attempt to enter Australia illegally last March. Migrant works chose to make the journey after being promised a better livelihood then in Malaysia or Thailand.

In March 2009, brokers in Thailand and Malaysia convinced a group of 130 migrant workers to travel to Australia to find work. The 130 individuals who migrated from locations all over Burma are reported to have been hoping to find better pay and opportunities to resettle.

The trip from Burma to Australia is unusual in that most migrant laborers from Burma either find work in Thailand or in Malaysia. However in this case, sources close to victims report that brokers had convinced them that Australia was the best option for improving their livelihoods.

Specifically, migrant workers cited several arguments given to them by brokers as reasons to make the illegal crossing. They claimed that since Australian dollar has greater value then either the Thai baht or the Malaysian ringgit, the migrants base salaries would be greater in Australia, and that the Malaysian authorities would likely arrest them if they worked there illegally. Many workers were even told by their brokers that they would personally ask for permission that migrants be allowed to work in the country. Continue reading “Trafficked migrants languish in Australian detention center”

Mon National Day celebrations in Rangoon enjoy upped attendance

Tue 02 Feb 2010, IMNA
The 63rd Mon National Day (MND) was celebrated by townships and villages large and small throughout Burma on January 29th of this year, but newly relaxed government regulations ensured that the MND celebrations held in Rangoon Division were and unprecedented success.

According to IMNA’s field reporter, who attended various events throughout Rangoon Division, MND celebrations were held in various locations throughout Rangoon Division, including in the ethnic minority-themed park known as “ethnic village”; the site is a tourist attraction in the division’s Tharkayta Township that showcases replications of various “ethnic dwellings” built by Burma’s various minority groups. Celebrations were also held in the Mon Community Hall in Rangoon, at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, and at the Inya Lake Hotel, also in Rangoon.

In previous years, MND celebrations in Rangoon Division have suffered from low attendance, partially because of the Burmese government’s strict censure of any MND-related advertising; word of various MND ceremonies was spread largely via word of mouth. This year, Mon National Flags were allowed to fly at the celebration at “ethnic village”, and a large banner announcing the celebration of “Mon National Day” was hung at the Mon Community hall in Rangoon. Continue reading “Mon National Day celebrations in Rangoon enjoy upped attendance”

Pro-junta group drops charges against USDA

Feb 02, 2010 (DVB)–Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics said it has dropped charges against members of another pro-junta group, the Union Solidarity and Development Association, who attacked them last year.

“We decided to drop the charges,” said Ye Htun, vice chairman of UMFNP. “The USDA, the general administration department and the home affairs ministry are involved in the case. We aim to proceed with politics on a nationwide scale and we do not wish to have problem with groups like these.”
Ye Htun also insisted that the group was not pressured by the authorities to drop charges.
“We are postponing a planned news conference on the attack. Apart from that, we are going ahead with [the election campaign] in divisions and states. But there have been difficulties with local authorities in places regarding registry status of our group,” he admitted.
“We will register straight away once we are allowed. If we can’t go ahead because we can’t register, then there will be no politician in the country and the seven-step road map will mean nothing.”
The UMFNP, formed by former student leader Aye Lwin, is known to have close ties to Burma’s ruling junta. Continue reading “Pro-junta group drops charges against USDA”

Government must halt repatriation of refugees

Published on February 2, 2010

The Karen Women Organisation issued a press release Tuesday demanding the government not to forcibly repatriate more than 3,000 Karen refugees, the majority being women and children, who are currently living in Tha Song Yang district, in Tak province.
According to the organisation, The Karen refugees fled from fighting in the Ler Per Her area, located in Burma’s Karen State, last june.
The refugees were granted temporary refuge in different locations in Tak province, but the Thai Army has repeatedly pressured the refugees to return home, telling them they needed to return to Burma before February 15th. It was not clear as to why the military pegged the return date to mid-February.

Some refugees have already been forced to cross the border to clean the village’s homes in preparation for their return in an area that the organisation considers “very dangerous”.

“They are now living in fear of imminent forced repatriation into an area which is heavily land-mined, and where active conflict can re-ignite at any moment”, stated the press release.

Blooming Night Zan, a leading member of on of the organisations, stated that the since the situation is still very dangerous, evidenced by people being injured by landmines, the Government needs to call off the repatriation.

“We appeal to the Thai authorities now to show your humanitarian kindness again and provide these refugees with protection on Thai soil,” the statement quoted Blooming as saying.


A Visit with Karen Rebels on Revolution Day

PA-AN, Karen State — Two hundred Karen civilians and soldiers took part in ceremonies at 6th Brigade headquarters of the Karen National Liberation Army to celebrate the 61st Karen Revolution Day this week.

A sense of excitement spead through the camp which is strategically located on top of a mountain ridge near the Thai-Burmese border. Soldiers laughed and some played guitars as they swung in their hammocks. Visitors strolled around taking photos of their friends and family members visited with their loved ones.Some troops had just returned from front line positions deep in the jungle to enjoy a day of rest. Despite the sense of peace on this day, the brigade is always on high alert due to its position near troops from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the government regime.

“Just over those hills is where the DKBA camp is. It’s too dangerous to go any farther,” said Saw Mu Tu as we reached an open valley at the top of a hill. Continue reading “A Visit with Karen Rebels on Revolution Day”

The refugees were told by the Thai Army that they must return to Burma by February 15 and that action to send them back will begin on February 5.

Thailand urged to put refugee repatriation on hold
Tuesday, 02 February 2010 19:27 Usa Pichai

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Deeply concerned with the plight of thousands of refugees to be deported to Burma from early this month a Karen women’s organization has made an impassioned appeal to the Thai government to halt repatriation.

The Karen Women’s Organization has appealed to the Royal Thai Government not to forcibly repatriate over 3,000 Karen refugees staying in Tha Song Yang, Tak Province, back to a heavily mined war zone in Burma. The group of refugees is sheltered in Thailand since last June after they fled fighting between the Burmese Army and an ethnic armed group in the Ler Per Her area in Karen State, Burma.

“The refugees were told by the Thai Army that they must return to Burma by February 15 and that action to send them back will begin on February 5. They are now living in fear of imminent repatriation into an area which is heavily mined, and where conflict can be triggered again any moment,” according to the statement from the group released on Thursday.

KWO also mentioned that the majority of the refugees are women and children.

The KWO said that on January 28, the local authorities and the Thai Army forced 50 refugees from this group back across the border between 9 am and 11 am to start cleaning up their homes in Ler Per Her village in preparation for their return. They included 20 women and girls, some less than 16 years of age. Continue reading “The refugees were told by the Thai Army that they must return to Burma by February 15 and that action to send them back will begin on February 5.”

Mongla assassination strengthening unity of Shan armed group

TUESDAY, 02 FEBRUARY 2010 16:41 S.H.A.N.
The unexpected killing of Mongla’s # 6 leader last week has served to steel the resolve of its ally Shan State Army (SSA) “North” to stand united against Naypyitaw’s pressure to convert all armed groups that have ceasefire agreements with the country’s military rulers, according to sources close to the leadership.

The group’s top leaders have been meeting for the third time since last December to find out how it could “please everyone” by assigning part of its at least 4,500 strong force to become a junta run home guard force.

The first and second meetings took place in December at Hseng Keow, Hsipaw township, and Wanhai, Kehsi township. The latest meeting in Wanhai, HQ of the first Brigade, started on 25 January.

The yet to be formed militia force is to be commanded by Lt-Col Kawng Tai and Maj Aung Myint, according to an unconfirmed report. So far, only over 200 fighters have volunteered to join it.

The SSA North has 3 brigades:

The First with approximately 2,500 men
The Third with approximately 500 men
The Seventh with approximately 1,000 men
HQ security approximately 300 men
Mao Valley Border Force 200 men
The group’s three top leaders: Loi Mao, Gai Fa and Pang Fa are reportedly all at Wanhai.

Until the Mongla killing, Loi Mao and Gai Fa have been considered sofliners and Pang Fa a hard liner. In addition, he is personally and politically close to the United Wa State Army (UWSA). His First Brigade covers the western flank of the UWSA.

The UWSA, on 14 November, informed Naypyitaw that it would accept the Border Guard Force (BGF) program, designed to keep all armed groups under the wing of the Burma Army, in principle but would accept the participation of junta officers only at the top level and not, as the Naypyitaw demanded, at the battalion level.

Both the SSA North and its other ally, Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), have been more or less following the same line.
U Min Ein, 58, Secretary General of the MNDAA, was gunned down by an unknown gunman on 27 January. Also considered a softliner, meaning one who preferred accommodating the Burmese generals, his killing was thought to have been engineered by them.

“We are more united than ever now,” said the source on the Sino-Burma border.