Saturday, March 26, 2005

MYANMAR: Karenni rebels dig in for last stand

Some observers believe the attacks on the KNU and KNPP are directly linked to the fall of General Khin Nyunt. The theory goes that with Khin Nyunt out of the way, the even-more hardline generals in Yangon, such as SPDC vice chairman General Maung Aye, are free to seek a military solution to the country's "ethnic question" But while Khin Nyunt's downfall is a factor, the reasons for the attacks are more complex. One issue is the increased willingness of the KNPLF to join forces with the SPDC. According to Tu Reh, a senior KNPP leader, "We believe that the SPDC paid around 70 million Burmese kyat [US$12.47 million] some time ago to the KNPLF, in exchange for their help to fight the KA. For a long time, they did nothing. But then, after Khin Nyunt was ousted, the ceasefire groups started to come under a lot of pressure. The generals in Rangoon [Yangon] have pushed them to take part in its National Convention, which is now working on a new constitution. The junta has made clear that, once the convention is over, the ceasefire groups will have to disarm."..........More