10,000 Karen refugees heading to Thailand by KIC

Humanitarian groups on the Thai Burma border estimate 10,000 refugees are on their way to Thailand. More than 300 Karen villagers fled their homes on Tuesday night and Wednesday and have begun their exodus into Thailand at Waw Ley, south of Mae Sot.

The villagers are escaping fighting between the Burma Army and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army soldiers who are opposed to plans to form a Border Guard Force.

The villagers are also scared that a decision reached today, Wednesday, by some leaders of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army to accept the Burma military regime’s plans for a Border Guard Force, will escalate the conflict.

Villagers are worried the decision by the DKBA to restructure their army under the auspices of the BGF will also result in forced recruitment among civilians.

The contentious decision by some DKBA leaders to accept the BGF also leaves many of their officers and soldiers angry.

To ensure they got the decision they wanted, the Burma Army showed their strength by moving 10 battalions by truck into DKBA territory.

A DKBA captain, annoyed at the BGF decision, told KIC there would now be two DKBA armies and the possibility of conflict between them was real.

“There will be a split in the DKBA. The ‘for’ group are arguing that if we don’t join [the BGF] there will be war and more suffering for our Karen people. But our people are already suffering.”

At the time of writing, humanitarian and medical groups and Karen leaders are concerned the impact of an estimated 10,000 refugees will have on their services.

Junta uses people’s militia to monitor KIA

The 4th brigade of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) based in Northeast Shan State, is being closely monitored  by the Burmese Army using the people’s militia, said a resident.

Burmese troops are on the lookout for two battalions of the Loikang-based KIA’s 4th brigade which moved a few days ago. It is using the people militia for surveillance, the local added.

“Over two days, they (junta) have been searching for the two KIA battalions, Hpawng Seng, Pangsai and Munggu (Mongkoe) villages with the help of people’s militia,” said the resident.

Tension between the Burmese military junta and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political-wing of KIA has mounted since the Kachin ethnic armed group rejected the Border Guard Force (BGF) proposal by the regime after the April 22 deadline given by the junta.

“KIO/A will not attack the Burmese troops but if they continue to search and find us there will be clashes,” he said.

The KIA’s 4th Brigade Command in Loikang, Shan State, northeast Burma.

There are four battalions– No. 2, No. 8, No.9 and No.17 under the command of the KIA’s 4th brigade. Last year, the junta pressurized the brigade by giving two options of transforming into three militia groups and withdrawing all battalions to Kachin State.  KIA rejected it.

KIA refused the junta’s proposal because the state is historically important for the ethnic armed group. The KIO was formed in October 25, 1960 and its armed wing KIA was set up in February 5, 1961 near Lashio in Northeast Shan State.

“They (junta) are sending more troops near the 4th brigade, where it can reach in 20 minutes by foot,” said the local source. The Burmese Army has ordered militias, formed forcibly with local people to take positions around the 4th brigade.

“KIA may have little chance to defend their camp if the Burmese Army attacks their 4th brigade because it has reinforced troops,” said the resident.

The junta is organizing people’s militia with local people by force mainly to send them to the front lines if they take on KIA.

“No one wants to join the militia because they don’t want to fight their own people. If there is battle they will run,” said the local.

Most members of militias are Kachin ethnics and they could not escape the junta’s dragnet because of fear of reprisal and some are joining for their own business interests, said the villager.

SPDC balks as April 28th deadline passes

New Mon State Party (NMSP) leaders informed IMNA today that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has opted to forgo its original April 28th deadline, the date on which the SPDC was expected to break its ceasefire agreements with all ethnic minority cease-fire groups who have thus far refused to convert their armed wings into government-run “militia groups”.

“We still do not hear anything [from the SPDC]. It seems like they are prolonging the time [until breaking the ceasefires] and want the party [NMSP] to do as they want,” said NMSP Vice-Chairman Nai Rot Sa.

“They want to keep the cease-fire agreements no less than us, but they also want us to follow their demands according to their constitution,” reported a NMSP CEC leader, who asked not to be named.

This NMSP CEC member also reported to IMNA that all cease-fire groups, including the New Mon State Party (NMSP), The Shan State Army (SSA)- [North],  the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO),  the United Wa State Army (UWSA), and the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), had informed the Burmese government by April 22nd of their refusals of the SPDC’s “militia group” plans; NMSP communications with these groups has confirmed that all are still waiting for an official SPDC response, despite recent conflicts between SPDC battalions and the UWSA. Despite earlier government threats, each group’s ceasefire has remained preserved, and none have yet been declared “illegal” under the 2008 constitution.

“I do not think they will attack all the cease-fire groups at once. It is possible they will attack one party at a time” he said.


“The authorities replied to the confirmation of the NMSP’s report [regarding its militia group refusal] that our decision in the report was not clear enough, because we used diplomatic words in the report,” he continued.  “Of course our decision is clearly understood but the government is just pretending about not getting our message as we mean [it to be understood]”.

“The government told us that we will talk again next time. We will keep the [present-ceasefire] relationship between the two sides and we can send back our members to stay at inside office as normal [away from NMSP-controlled territory],” he added

NMSP sources reported to IMNA that despite the SPDC’s claims of its desire to preserve the ceasefire relationship it signed with the NMSP in the 1995,  the party remains highly suspicious of the government’s motives and will  not cease its military preparations at party headquarters in Thaton, Tavoy, and Moulmein District; other ceasefire groups have allegedly adopted similar “wait and see” policies.

ကိုေမာင္ေမာင္ၿငိမ္း၏ ကိုယ္ေရးအက်ဥ္း

ကိုေမာင္ေမာင္ၿငိမ္း၏ ကိုယ္ေရးအက်ဥ္း

  • အမည္ – ကိုေမာင္ေမာင္ၿငိမ္း
  • အသက္ – (၄၃) ႏွစ္
  • ပညာအရည္အခ်င္း – အေျခခံပညာအထက္တန္း
  • ဇနီးအမည္ – မခ်မ္းလြန္ (Internews)
  • အဖအမည္ – ဦးတင္ေမာင္ (ဗိုလ္မွဴးႀကီး-ကြယ္လြန္)
  • ေမြးရာဇာတိ – ရန္ကုန္
  • လက္ရွိတာဝန္ – အေထြေထြအတြင္းေရးမွဴး၊ ျပည္သူ႔ကာကြယ္ေရးတပ္(PDF)။ မူဝါဒေရးရာ ဦးေဆာင္အဖြဲ႔ဝင္၊ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ ဒီမိုကရက္တစ္အင္အားစု (FDB)။ အယ္ဒီတာခ်ဳပ္၊ ႐ိုးမ ၃ သတင္းဌာန။

၁၉၈၈ ရွစ္ေလးလုံးအေရးေတာ္ပုံ လႈပ္ရွားမႈတြင္ တပ္မေတာ္သားတေယာက္အေနျဖင့္ ပါဝင္လႈပ္ရွားခဲ့သည္။ ျပည္သူဘက္က ရပ္တည္လႈပ္ရွားခဲ့ၿပီး စစ္တပ္မွ အာဏာသိမ္းအၿပီးတြင္ လြတ္ေျမာက္ေဒသသို႔ ထြက္ခြာလာခဲ့သည္။ မူလတြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံလုံးဆိုင္ရာ ေက်ာင္းသားမ်ားဒီမိုကရက္တစ္တပ္ဦး (ABSDF)၊ ေက်ာင္းသားတပ္မေတာ္တြင္ တပ္ရင္းမွဴးတာဝန္ထိ ေဆာင္ရြက္ခဲ့သည္။ ၁၉၉၅ ခုႏွစ္ခန္႔မွစ၍ ျပည္သူ႔ကာကြယ္ေရးတပ္(PDF) တြင္ ေျပာင္းေရႊ႕တာဝန္ထမ္းေဆာင္ခဲ့သည္။ ေက်ာင္းသားတပ္မေတာ္ႏွင့္ (PDF) တို႔တြင္ တာ၀န္ထမ္းေဆာင္ခဲ့ေသာ ကာလတေလွ်ာက္ ေရွ႕တန္းစစ္ေျမျပင္မ်ားတြင္ အခ်ိန္ အမ်ားစု တာဝန္ထမ္းေဆာင္ခဲ့သည္။

ျပည္သူ႔ကာကြယ္ေရးတပ္ တပ္မွဴးတာဝန္၊ ႏိုင္ငံေရး/စစ္ေရးဦးေဆာင္ေကာ္မတီ အေထြေထြအတြင္းေရးမွဴး တာဝန္မ်ားကို ထမ္းေဆာင္ခဲ့သည္။

ျပည္သူ႔ကာကြယ္ေရးတပ္သည္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံဒီမိုကရက္တစ္အင္အားစု (FDB) ၏ အဖြဲ႔ဝင္အဖြဲ႔အစည္း ျဖစ္သည္ႏွင့္အညီ ကိုေမာင္ေမာင္ၿငိမ္းသည္ မူဝါဒေရးရာ ဦးေဆာင္အဖြဲ႔ဝင္ႏွင့္ ျပည္တြင္းလုပ္ငန္းေကာ္မတီတို႔တြင္ ပါဝင္ေဆာင္ရြက္ေနဆဲျဖစ္သည္။

သကၠရာဇ္ ၂၀၀၆ ခုႏွစ္မွစ၍ ႐ိုးမ ၃ သတင္းဌာန၏ အယ္ဒီတာခ်ဳပ္အျဖစ္ တာဝန္ယူခဲ့သည္။ ဗထူးအမည္ျဖင့္ သတင္းမ်ားကို ေရးသားခဲ့သည္။ ၂၀၀၉ ခုႏွစ္အတြင္း ႐ိုးမ ၃ သတင္းဌာနမွ ထုတ္ေဝေသာ ‘ျမန္မာ့ သားေကာင္းမ်ားအတြက္ ဝမ္းနည္းဖြယ္ရာ ကေလးစစ္သားမ်ား’ အမည္ရွိ အစီရင္ခံစာကို ဦးစီးထုတ္ေဝခဲ့သည္။

ကိုေမာင္ေမာင္ၿငိမ္းသည္ ေမာင္ၿငိမ္းလူ(ဟယ္လ္ပင္) ကေလာင္အမည္ျဖင့္ ကဗ်ာမ်ားကိုလည္း ေရးသားခဲ့သည့္အျပင္ စာေပအသိုင္းအဝိုင္းမွ ကဗ်ာဆရာ၊ စာေရးဆရာမ်ားႏွင့္ စာေပလႈပ္ရွားမႈမ်ားတြင္ ပူးေပါင္းေဆာင္ရြက္ေနဆဲျဖစ္သည္။

သကၠရာဇ္ ၂၀၁၀ ျပည့္ႏွစ္၊ ၾကာသာပေတးေန႔၊ နံနက္ ၃ နာရီအခ်ိန္တြင္ ႐ုိးမ ၃ သတင္းဌာန႐ုံး၌ အသဲေရာဂါ၊ ေက်ာက္ကပ္ေရာဂါတို႔ျဖင့္ ကြယ္လြန္ခဲ့သည္။ ကြယ္လြန္ခ်ိန္တြင္ ၎၏ ခ်စ္လွစြာေသာ ဇနီးသည္ မခ်မ္းလြန္ က်န္ရစ္ခဲ့သည္။



Karen army takes blame for grenade attack

One of Burma’s biggest ethnic armies, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s grenade attack on a hydropower plant in eastern Burma’s Karenni state.

Saw Mae Ae Sein, commander of KNLA Brigade 2, said that an elite unit was yesterday sent to the dam site to carry out the attack.

The dam, currently under construction, has typically caused controversy and led to a militarisation of the surrounding area as the army looks to secure swathes of land for the project.

“There are concerns for the local’s survival; locals have been facing threats of shootings, oppression, forced labour, torture and forced relocation,” he said.

He added that the Karen army, which has been waging a 60-year civil war against the Burmese government, “had to strike because if we didn’t, the district would not survive.”

Troops from the 10,000-strong KNLA launched rockets and heavy weapons at the dam site, while the Burmese army returned fire. The fight last for about an hour, Saw Mae Ae Sein said.

“There were no casualties on our side but there were some on the government side, as well as some damage to their buildings.”

He said that the KNLA had not intended to injure civilians, “but militarily, it was unavoidable as they were at the site working for the government. Besides, it was likely that they were just people handpicked by the government to work at the site.”

Construction on Thaukyegat hydropower project begun in 2003. Saw Mae Ae Sein said that around 30 villages and nearly 100,000 people will be impacted by the dam.

Asia World Corporation came under attack earlier this month close to the site of another controversial dam in Burma’s northernmost Kachin state. Three bombs exploded inside the company’s compound close to the Myitsone dam, 18 miles north of the Kachin state capital, Myitkyina. Four Asia World employees were killed.

DVB News

Karen fleeing to border in their ‘thousands’

Fears over clashes between the Burmese army and a proxy force have in the past two days caused an exodus of Karen refugees to Burma’s border with Thailand.

The refugees, many of whom are from Kawkerit township in eastern Karen state, which borders Thailand, have reportedly been arriving in small groups since 27 April. There are fears of fighting between Burmese troops and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which according to rumours is resisting demands to become a border guard unit.

“DKBA commanders are not getting along with the Burmese junta and there will be fighting. We fled when we saw Burmese troops arriving,” said a female refugee from Hto Kaw Kee village in Kawkareit township.

Many Karen are said to have remained in hiding in the jungle areas close to the border. The woman added that villagers had had to leave their belongings hidden when they fled their homes, fearing pillage by Burmese troops.

Around 130,000 Karen live in camps along the Thai-Burma border, many of whom have fled the 60-year civil war between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union (KNU). The DKBA split from the KNU in 1994 and allied itself to the government.

Earlier this week hundreds of locals from Mon state reportedly fled to the border after the New Mon State Party (NMSP) ceasefire group rejected demands from the government that it transform into a border militia.

A similar refusal by the 30,000-strong United Wa State Army (UWSA), Burma’s largest ceasefire group, has pushed dozens of locals from Shan state into Thailand in the past week.

The deadline for groups to begin the transformation into border militias passed yesterday, with only a handful of groups agreeing to the proposal which will see them subordinated to the Burmese army and forced to reduce troop numbers.

Already tenuous ceasefire agreements between the government and various ethnic armies are looking increasingly fragile; aid groups have warned that the issue could spark widespread fighting and force thousands across Burma’s borders into China and Thailand.


London Calling: 3May “Free Zarganar!” – An afternoon of comedy, poetry, performance and dance.

Burma’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for his criticism of the Burmese government’s handling of Cyclone Nargis which hit Burma on 2 May 2008. The cyclone devastated the country – more than 140,000 people died and millions were made homeless.

To mark World Press Freedom Day 2010 and to pay tribute to our brave colleague Zarganar, the Free Zarganar Campaign coalition will be holding a lively and colourful afternoon of comedy, poetry, performance and dance in Trafalgar Square in London and will be calling for his immediate release.

Everyone is welcome to come and join in, so do spread the word!



Carole Seymour-Jones, Deputy President of English PEN and Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee will introduce the event

Journalist and friend of Zarganar Bo Bo Lansin will tell us about Zarganar’s work and the role of artists in Burma

Freelance journalist and former political prisoner Nita May will talk about freedom of the press for women in Burma and give us the lastest news on Zarganar

Former political prisoner and close friend of Zarganar Aung Thwin will recount his own experiences of prison life and memories of living with Zarganar

Activist and former colleague of Zarganar Dr Win Naing will talk about Zarganar’s family and about his experiences of working with him in the late 80s.

With additional performances by:

The Burmese Theatre Workshop and actress Camila Fiori

The Burmese Theatre Workshop is a non-political London based Burmese touring theatre company, the only one in the world. The Company was established at the Drill Hall in June 2009 by ten Burmese actors and one wheelchair using Brit who wanted to create well crafted, challenging theatre that would empower Burmese people to change themselves and the people around them and to raise the profile and standing of Burmese theatre in the UK. Their work promotes the creativity, culture and heritage of Burmese people, promotes new writing, emerging artists and new audiences.

Camila Fiori is an actress with a performance and visual arts background. Her work explores boundaries and cross-overs in both content and form. Her work encourages integration and celebrates the right to share our voices. As a PEN aficionada and Equity member with a personal and political interest in freedom, exile and imprisonment, she supports the campaign to free Zarganar.

Who is Zarganar?

Burmese poet, comedian, filmmaker and actor, Zarganar, has long been an outspoken critic of Myanmar’s military government. He was most recently arrested on 4 June 2008 for his public criticism of the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis that emerged in the wake of Cyclone Nargis. After it emerged that the Myanmar government was obstructing international aid that was to be distributed to the devastated Irrawaddy Delta and the surrounding areas, Zarganar began to lead efforts to raise and distribute aid from private donors. Despite assurances from the authorities that private donors would be given free access to cyclone affected areas, Zarganar and at least 21 others were later arrested for their participation in the voluntary aid effort.

Zarganar was regarded as a reliable source of information from within Myanmar by the Burmese exile media and regularly gave interviews to journalists abroad. Through the interviews he exposed the devastation which had not been reported by the tightly-controlled Myanmar media. Zarganar and other volunteers documented the devastation caused by the cyclone and the voluntary relief operations that followed. They collected video footage and photographic evidence from the affected areas. At the time of his arrest, the police confiscated Zarganar’s computer, copies of several banned films, DVDs believed to contain footage of the cyclone damage, and US$1000 that had been collected for the cyclone victims.
Two days after his arrest, state-controlled media published warnings against the production of video footage of relief work for foreign news agencies.

Zarganar has insisted that humour in Burma will prevail. “Burmese people love to laugh. If I can’t speak, jokes will still spread. People will make them up themselves.”

** The Free Zarganar Campaign was launched by a consortium of human rights and freedom of expression advocates. Our goal is to mobilise public opinion and win his immediate release. We are now working with private citizens to further highlight Zarganar’s cause, mobilise worldwide opinion and press the Burmese military leaders to release Zarganar immediately.**



For further information on Zarganar, please see http://zarganar.blog.free.fr/ or email zarganarblog@gmail.com