Thank you for your prayers, support, advocacy and actions on behalf of the people of Burma. There is news today that the Prime Minister of Burma, Gen. Khin Nyunt has been placed under house arrest. A delegation of Karen National Union (KNU) leaders are in Rangoon at this time for peace negotiations with Khin Nyunt’s subordinates. Prayer requests and two news articles are included in this email. There are other news reports now about the situation that indicate that the delegation are still in Rangoon and are uncertain about what will happen next. Ethnic groups from Burma who have negotiated cease fire agreements over the years are also a topic for prayer.
Please pray for:
- Physical and spiritual freedom for the people of Burma.
- The KNU delegation who is currently in Rangoon.
- Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains in house arrest.
- Political and other prisoners who have been unjustly imprisoned, have had no access to a just legal process and have been tortured.
- Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees, and others in exile from Burma.
- Tthe leaders of countries and others in power to take action for positive change in Burma.
KNU Travels to Rangoon for Peace Talks
By Aung Su Shin/Mae Sot and Shah Paung
October 18, 2004
(source: The Irrawaddy)
Top officials from the armed ethnic insurgency group the Karen National Union, or KNU, left for the Burmese capital, Rangoon, Monday morning to continue peace negotiations with Burma’s military rulers, which began late last year, said KNU General Secretary Mahn Sha today by telephone from the Thai-Burma border.
Sixteen KNU members left from Mae Sot district in Thailand this morning to travel to Rangoon by car via the Karen State capital of Pa-an, although only 10 members are expected to take part in the ceasefire negotiations. Karen insurgents have been fighting the central government for more than 50 years.
The delegation is headed by Col Htoo Htoo Lay, KNU first joint general secretary. Gen Muu Tuu, commander of the KNU’s Sixth Brigade, and David Taw, the foreign secretary are also on the Karen negotiating team. The trip is expected to take at least 10 days.
David Taw said Rangoon’s delegation will be led by deputy military intelligence chief Lt-Gen Kyaw Win and Brig-Gen Kyaw Thein, also a top ranking military intelligence official. The foreign secretary also said that he hopes this round of talks, the fourth, will be more successful than the last.
“During the talks in Moulmein [in late February] there was not enough time to discuss all matters,” said David Taw. “This time we will settle the issues of troop demarcation, a complete ceasefire and the resettlement of internally displaced persons. This is our hope.”
The KNU and Burmese junta reached a tentative “gentleman’s ceasefire” during the second round of talks in Rangoon in January, which were attended by KNU deputy chairman and long-time leader Gen Bo Mya, who is now seriously ill.
During the talks in Moulmein [in late February] there was not enough time to discuss all matters. This time we will settle the issues of troop demarcation, a complete ceasefire and the resettlement of internally displaced persons. This is our hope.
– David Taw, KNU foreign secretary
Fighting has continued since the talks began late last year. Medical relief workers reported that in late September three Burma Army battalions killed three Karen villagers and one medic, destroyed 62 homes, five rice barns, a clinic, a school and displaced more than 240 villagers in the Mergui-Tavoy area in southern Burma. The Burma Army also attacked the headquarters of the Karen National Liberation Army’s 203 battalion, the KNU’s armed wing, the report said.
The two sides were originally scheduled to meet for the fourth round of talks on October 12 but the meeting was postponed because two Karen delegates had to first travel from deep inside the jungle to the Thai-Burma border.
The Karen delegation was escorted to Rangoon by Burmese intelligence officer Col San Pwint.
(see also story at www.cnn.com; http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/10/19/myanmar.politics/index.html)
Khin Nyunt Under House Arrest?
By The Irrawaddy (www.irrawaddy.org)
October 19, 2004
Burma’s Prime Minister and Chief of Military Intelligence Gen Khin Nyunt has been under house arrest according to sources in Rangoon and a Thai government spokesman.
As yet, Rangoon has not made an official announcement with regard to the PM’s status, but Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said that Khin Nyunt had been put under house arrest on corruption charges.
In Rangoon, rumors of the arrests of top officials and a failed coup attempt have circulated widely since last night.
“It’s hard to know what’s really going on”, said a Rangoon-based journalist. “This is an inside story.” Rangoon residents spoken to by telephone on Tuesday said that there was no increased military presence in the streets and everything was as normal.
There were unconfirmed reports that Khin Nyunt was arrested at 8:30 pm last night on his return to Rangoon from Mandalay. There were other reports, also unconfirmed, that officers from the Ministry of Defense raided the Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence, or OCMI, headquarters.
Senior OCMI staffers across the country are rumored to have been arrested on the orders of Deputy Sr-Gen Maung Aye, army chief and vice chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, or SPDC, the junta that oversees the government of Burma.
It’s hard to know what’s really going on.
This is an inside story.
– Rangoon-based journalist
Sources in Rangoon said that Minister of Home Affairs Col Tin Hlaing was also arrested. Khin Nyunt’s son Ye Naing Win was rumored to have been detained and his internet server Bagan Cybertech taken over by the government. But as of Tuesday the company was still running.
Since last month, tensions between the Burma Army and the OCMI have been rumored to have been higher than usual. Seventy-odd OCMI personal at Nam Phakka in Muse township on the Chinese border were reportedly arrested on the orders of the Lashio commander in September.
Khin Nyunt was appointed Prime Minister in August last year. But his lack of progress with regard to the National Convention (which was supposed to draw up a new constitution for the country, but was adjourned indefinitely in July) and the Burma Army’s refusal to recognize the ceasefire agreement that his subordinates made with the rebel Karen National Union suggested that his authority was being undermined.