Sunday, January 30, 2005

MYANMAR: Coup in Rangoon? 28-29JAN [ 5 News Clippings]

+ MIZZIMA BRIEF: Thai Prime Minister confirms reports of political
tension riseing in Burma. Kachin Post: Vice-Chairman of juntas State
Peace and Development Council Vice-Senior General Maung Aye was
rounded up at undisclosed location in capital Rangoon and his office
was closed down.Several sources suggest that there are signs of
splits between top set up of military Junta. http://mizzima.com/ +

HEADLINES IN NEWS CLIPPINGS

01. Junta Dismisses Coup Rumors But Hints at Cabinet Shuffle
02. Media shows Myanmar top brass intact, deflating coup rumours
03. Coup rumours spread as key junta leaders 'disappear'
04. Thaksin Watching ‘Tension’ in Burma
05. Thaksin’s Comments on Burma Rumors ‘Significant’
//////////////////

29/01/2005

01. Junta Dismisses Coup Rumors But Hints at Cabinet Shuffle

Nyan Win denied Friday that a coup d(etat had taken place in the
military-ruled country, but hinted at possible changes in the
Cabinet.

“No, no, no,” Burma’s Foreign Minister Nyan Win said,
responding to questions about rumors of a leadership change that have
swept the country’s capital, Rangoon, in recent days.

“It’s all just rumors,” he said with a laugh. “Everything
there is fine.”

Footage shown Friday night on Burma’s state television of the
junta’s top two leaders and Prime Minister Lt-Gen Soe Win attending
an official function together bolstered his assertion.

Diplomats in Rangoon had said this week they were expecting Soe Win
to lose his position, as unverifiable stories circulated of a power
struggle that according to some accounts may have included a gunfight
among the country’s military rulers.

The three men at the center of the speculation—junta chief Snr-Gen
Than Shwe, second-ranking Dep Snr-Gen Maung Aye and Soe Win—were
shown on the first report of the evening news attending a meeting in
Rangoon with ethnic minority students.

The rumors of a shake-up had been fueled by an extended absence of
reports in the state media until Friday about Soe Win’s activities.

Thaung Tun, director general of the Burma’s Foreign Ministry’s
Political Department, also said his country’s situation was stable.
He and Nyan Win were in Thailand to attend a conference on a proposed
Indian Ocean tsunami warning system.

“In every country there are changes in the Cabinet,” Thaung Tun
said without elaborating. “We do things in a measured way.
Everything is normal.”

Adding to the sense of political unease in Burma had been the
unexplained death of Lt-Col Bo Win Tun, the personal assistant to
Maung Aye.

Although it is widely believed that he took his own life, for reasons
unknown, a report by the opposition Democratic Voice of Burma radio
station, based in Norway, suggested he died in a shootout.

Earlier Friday, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said political
tension had erupted among leaders in neighboring Burma, but that no
coup had taken place.

“I was informed that there is political tension in Myanmar
[Burma],” said Thaksin, who added that the information was
confusing and still being checked.

“There is tension and conflict but not at the level of a coup
d(etat.”

Burma’s former prime minister, Gen Khin Nyunt, was ousted last
October and replaced by Soe Win.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=4343&z=153

29/01/2005

02. Media shows Myanmar top brass intact, deflating coup rumours

YANGON : Myamar's top three generals were pictured smiling together
in state media, in what observers said was a calculated attempt to
quash rumours of a coup or struggle at the pinnacle of power.

Suspicion had swelled that political tension was once again boiling
over in the secretive state just three months after the ouster of
Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.

Last week Lieutenant Colonel Bo Win Tun, the personal assistant to
Myanmar number two Deputy Senior General Maung Aye, died under
mysterious circumstances and was given a military funeral.

Rumours swirled that he may have been assassinated, killed himself or
died protecting Maung Aye, sparking talk of a power struggle
resurfacing in Yangon.

Western diplomats had noted the recent disappearance from public view
of new Prime Minister General Soe Win, which led to reports he may
have been placed under house arrest or fled the city.

Saturday's state-run New Light of Myanmar and other newspapers
published several photographs from the previous day depicting junta
leader Senior General Than Shwe with Maung Aye and Soe Win.

All three were shown, together in some photographs, wearing military
uniforms and attending an annual student ceremony in Yangon.

They were also pictured in traditional Burmese dress greeting the
students at a banquet.

"This is a calculated effort to show things are in order and it's an
indication that these rumours are pretty much quashed," one observer
in Yangon told AFP.

Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win, visiting the Thai island Phuket
for a tsunami meeting, also reportedly dismissed speculation about
the top brass.

"Prime Minister Soe Win is still in office and fine. He is not under
house arrest like Khin Nyunt," the Nation newspaper quoted him as
saying.

On Friday Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told reporters
"there has been some form of tension in Myanmar." He said he did not
believe a coup had taken place but offered no details as to what may
have happened.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/129781/1/.html

29/01/2005

03. Coup rumours spread as key junta leaders 'disappear'

Rumours of a new coup in Burma are spreading as key Burmese junta
leaders have disappeared from public view over the past two weeks.

Unconfirmed reports say Gen Maung Aye, army chief and vice-chairman
of the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and several
other senior junta members have been wounded in a military takeover.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday admitted there was ''some
kind of political tension'' in Burma but declined to elaborate,
saying it was still unclear what was really going on.

Mr Thaksin brushed aside speculation there might be a new military
coup in Rangoon but said Thailand was closely watching the situation
in Burma.

''It is not clear yet as Burma is a closed society, but I admit there
has been some form of tension in Burma,'' he told reporters
yesterday. ''I don't think it was a coup but there have been tensions
and preparations to do something.''

Mr Thaksin's remarks came one week after the death of Lt-Col Bo Win
Tun, personal aide to Burma's No. 2 leader Gen Maung Aye.

Lt-Col Bo Win Tun's obituary appeared in Burma's state newspaper on
Sunday. It was reported he had been buried with full military
honours, but it was unclear exactly how he died.

Rumours were spreading in Rangoon that he was assassinated, killed
himself or died trying to protect Gen Maung Aye.

However, Burmese Foreign Affairs Minister Nyan Win, talking on the
sidelines of yesterday's international tsunami meeting in Phuket
province, dismissed the power play speculation, saying it was untrue.
His participation in the meeting in Thailand meant the situation in
Rangoon was still peaceful, he said.

Thai security sources monitoring security developments inside Burma
admitted to the Bangkok Post they had been aware of such reports from
Burma since last week.

A rumour was also spreading in Thai-Burmese border areas that Burmese
Prime Minister Soe Win was killed in a gun battle, they said.

''We could not confirm anything yet and we are trying to verify such
reports,'' said a leading Thai intelligence officer.

He said the rumour was fuelled by the disappearance from public view
of SPDC chairman Gen Than Shwe, Gen Maung Aye and Lt-Gen Soe Win in
the past two weeks.

The junta's mouthpiece, New Light of Myanmar newspaper, has mentioned
nothing about Lt-Gen Soe Win's activities since Jan 12 when it
reported the state visit by Bangladesh's Energy Minister Mosharraf
Hossain who was greeted by Lt-Gen Soe Win.

The SPDC chairman and Gen Maung Aye were last mentioned in the
Burmese newspaper on Jan 10 when it said the two strongmen took part
in the armed forces' golf party held in Rangoon.

The rumoured gun battle said to have left Gen Maung Aye seriously
wounded was supposed to have taken place on Jan 12 when Gen Than Shwe
called an urgent meeting of cabinet members and senior SPDC figures.

One source quoted an unidentified Asean diplomat as saying Lt-Gen Soe
Win was arrested after his bodyguards opened fire on Gen Maung Aye,
wounding him and killing Lt-Col Bo Win Tun.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/29Jan2005_news04.php

28/01/2005

04. Thaksin Watching ‘Tension’ in Burma
By Aung Lwin Oo

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told reporters in Bangkok
Friday that he had been informed about “political tension” in
Burma, and said Thailand was watching the situation closely.

Thaksin ShinawatraThaksin dismissed any suggestion that the tension
had been triggered by an attempted coup in Rangoon, however.

The Thai Prime Minister was reacting to persistent rumors of a bloody
confrontation between Burma’s military rulers, as reported Thursday
by The Irrawaddy’s online news service. State media carried no hint
of trouble, despite some unconfirmed reports that an announcement of
leadership changes was imminent.

The rumors arose following the death under unexplained circumstances
last Friday of a military aide to the regime number two, Dep Snr-Gen
Maung Aye. A funeral notice said Lt-Col Bo Win Tun, 42, had died
“on duty.”

Speculation has also been fueled by the absence from the media for
several days of any of the top triumvirate: the junta supremo,
Snr-Gen Tan Shwe, Maung Aye or the Prime Minister, Lt-Gen Soe Win.

The state media maintained its silence Friday.

A leader of the Karen National Union, or KNU, speculated Friday that
conflict had arisen between factions led by Maung Aye and an alliance
of Than Shwe and Soe Win.

“According to the information we’ve received today, Maung Aye’s
status is not very good,” said Padoh Mahn Sha, KNU
general-secretary. “It seems something unusual is going on.”

Meanwhile, in Rangoon, some residents rushed to withdraw their
deposits at Kanbawza Bank, which is owned by a Burmese tycoon, Aung
Ko Win, also known as Saya Kyaung, a business friend of Maung Aye.

Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win dismissed the rising tension in
Burma. Nyan Winn, who arrived Thailand on Friday to attend Regional
Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements in Phuket. The
Burmese Foreign Minister insisted that the Prime Minister Soe Win is
at his office.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=4341&z=153

28/01/2005

05. Thaksin’s Comments on Burma Rumors ‘Significant’
By Sutin Wannabovorn/AP Writer

Political tension has erupted among the leaders of military-ruled
Burma, but no coup d'etat has taken place, Thai Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra said Friday.

Thaksin was responding to reporters’ questions about rumors of a
leadership change that have been sweeping the Burmese capital,
Rangoon, in the past few days.

"I was informed that there is political tension in Myanmar," said
Thaksin, who added that the information was confusing and still being
checked.

"There is tension and conflict but not at the level of a coup
d'etat," he said.

Burmese officials have not commented on the rumors.

Thaksin's comments are significant because Thai officials were first
to announce that Burma’s former prime minister, Gen. Khin Nyunt,
was ousted last October. Burmese officials later confirmed the
statement.

The rumors of political tensions among Burma’s military rulers have
been fueled by the disappearance of reports in state media about the
activities of the prime minister, Lt. Gen. Soe Win, who took up the
job just last October.

The last report about Soe Win was a picture that showed him at a Jan.
11 meeting with visiting Indian officials, though his signature has
since appeared on letters congratulating foreign countries on their
national days.

Diplomats in Rangoon said they expect Soe Win to lose his position,
though it was unknown what differences he may have with the rest of
the military leadership.

Adding to the sense of political unease is the unexplained death of
Lt. Col. Bo Win Tun, the personal assistant to Gen Maung Aye, the
junta's second-ranking leader after Senior Gen Than Shwe.

His obituary, published in two state-run newspapers, said he passed
away on the night of Jan. 21 "while serving the country." It said he
would be cremated "with military honors" at the capital's main
military cemetery.

Although it is widely believed that he took his own life, for reasons
unknown, a report by the opposition Democratic Voice of Burma radio
station, based in Norway, suggested he died in a shootout.

Soe Win succeeded Gen Khin Nyunt, whose removal from office was
announced on Oct. 19 last year under murky circumstances.

The original announcement said Khin Nyunt was "permitted to retire
for health reasons," a euphemism used in the past for the forced
ouster of Cabinet members.

Junta leaders later accused him of insubordination and being
responsible for a major corruption scandal involving his
subordinates.

The move against Khin Nyunt was widely believed to have been
engineered by hardline junta members opposed to his relative
tolerance of the pro-democracy movement of opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi.

http://www.irrawaddy.org/aviewer.asp?a=4339&z=153