Daily News-November 12 - 2001- Monday

  • Regional commanders tipped to fill vacancies in reshuffle
  • Top Military Officials Sacked in Burma
  • Burma plans measures to ward off ILO action after adverse report
  • A passenger boat sucked in by whirlpool in Chindwin river
  • Preparations made for "Day of Prayer for Peace in Burma"
  • UN envoy plans Myanmar visit

  • Regional commanders tipped to fill vacancies in reshuffle

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma on 10 November

    The SPDC has issued declarations on the termination of duties of SPDC Secretary-3 Lt-Gen Win Myint and Military Affairs Minister Lt-Gen Tin Hla with effect from 9 November. The two declarations dated yesterday - Declaration No 5/2001 and Declaration No 6/2001, were signed by order and issued by SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. The SPDC declarations did not give reasons for the abrupt dismissals.

    Local and foreign political observers commented that this clearly indicates a serious rift in the SPDC but Rangoon-based diplomats said both Lt-Gen Win Myint and Lt-Gen Tin Hla had long been rumoured to have had personal business connections with the private sector and possible involvement in corruption.

    Some observers noted while all the SPDC generals are similarly corrupt, the reason to pick and sack the two is not solely linked to business connections but an attempt by SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt to rid of his opponents.

    At a time when the SPDC was unable to replace the position left vacant by the sudden demise of SPDC Secretary-2 Lt-Gen Tin Oo in a helicopter crash last February, the removal of SPDC Secretary-3 and the military affairs minister has posed a great surprise. An AFP report indicated that Triangle Region Military Commander Maj-Gen Thein Sein and Northeastern Military Commander Maj-Gen Tin Aung Myint Oo will replace the positions left vacant by Lt-Gen Win Myint and Lt-Gen Tin Hla.

    According to latest news received by DVB, more than 10 generals apart from the two sacked ones, will either be removed or reshuffled. Those tipped to be removed from cabinet included Deputy Prime Ministers Vice Adm Maung Maung Khin and Lt-Gen Tin Tun and those regional commanders tipped to be transferred or promoted include all 10 regional military commanders except Southeastern Military Commander Brig-Gen Myint Swe and Coastal Region Military Commander Brig Gen Aye Kywe. DVB correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed this report.

    [Myint Maung Maung] According to today's internal order from the Office of the Defence Services Commander in Chief, the duties of 10 of the 12 regional military commanders have also been terminated together with the two lieutenant generals. The order, signed by SPDC Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt and issued on 9 November, has terminated all the duties of those regional commanders.

    The commanders whose duties were terminated included

    Rangoon Military Commander Maj-Gen Khin Maung Than
    Central Military Commander Maj-Gen Ye Myint
    Western Military Commander Maj-Gen Aung Htwe
    Northwestern Military Commander Maj-Gen Soe Win
    Northern Military Commander Maj-Gen Kyaw Win
    Northeastern Military Commander Maj-Gen Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo
    Eastern Military Commander Maj-Gen Maung Bo
    Triangle Region Military Commander Maj-Gen Thein Sein
    Southern Military Commander Maj-Gen Tin Aye and
    Southwestern Military Commander Maj-Gen Thura Shwe Mann.

    These 10 commanders will fill the vacant positions in the SPDC and the cabinet. The two commanders who retained their posts are Coastal Region Military Commander Brig-Gen Aye Kywe who was appointed commander last year and Southeastern Military Commander Brig-Gen Myint Swe who was appointed only this year.
    Top Military Officials Sacked in Burma

    By Maung Maung Oo and Irrawaddy staff writers
    The Irrawaddy

    November 11, 2001- Burma’s ruling military government dismisses two of its powerful generals.Third Secretary Lt-Gen Win Myint of the ruling military council and Lt-Gen Tin Hla, a deputy prime minister and military affairs minister, were removed from their posts, according to an announcement made by the military government.

    The government did not provide any information on why the two were fired. A reliable source in Rangoon said that the announcement came as a surprise to many political observers in Rangoon.

    But Rangoon-based veteran journalists who cover political events in military-ruled Burma dismissed the speculation of political openness and power struggle among the generals who have ruled the country since 1988. Talks between opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime began last October but so far there is no indication of an end to the political deadlock.

    The military government now known as the State Peace and Development Council [SPDC] has been condemned for its human rights abuses. Analysts say that military leaders are eager to repair their tarnished image. "The shake up took place as they wanted to boost morale and punish some corrupt officials," a journalist in the capital told the Irrawaddy.

    Corruption is widespread in the top echelon. According to Burma watchers and diplomats in Rangoon the removal of Win Myint and Tin Hla is related to corruption. Win Myint was appointed in 1997 is the country’s fourth powerful position and Tin Hla was appointed in 1997 as the Minister for Military Affairs. In 1998 he became Deputy Prime Minister of the SPDC.

    Shortly after the sudden removal rumors began milling around the capital suggesting that the two generals have been briefly detained. A Businessman in Rangoon told the Irrawaddy, "There were serious accusations going around. Many were convinced that they [the two generals] were involved in a corruption sandal." But the public will not know the real reason behind the removal. Rangoon officials are tight-lipped about the case.

    Meanwhile, the junta fired five more ministers: Deputy Prime Minister Lt Gen Tin Tun, Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin, Culture Minister Win Sein, Cooperative Minjister Aung San, Immigration and Population Minister Saw Tun. Their dismissal was not related to the earlier removal of Win Myint and Tin Hla, according to well-informed sources in Rangoon. More additional changes and shake-ups are looming and regional commanders have been summoned Rangoon.
    Burma plans measures to ward off ILO action after adverse report

    Text of report by Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) on 10 November

    According to latest reports received by DVB, there is a possibility not only military but some ministerial positions would also be affected [by the recent dismissal of two top Rangoon junta generals].

    The key ministerial portfolios to be reshuffled are the construction and industry ministries. Although the reason is not clearly known it is believed to be connected to the forced labour issue.

    Observers noted that the attempt to remove the construction and industry ministers could be seen as a pre-emptive measure to ward off any ILO actions aimed at the country after the recent release of a pejorative ILO report which stated that the SPDC continues to use forced labour even though it officially outlawed the practice last year.
    A passenger boat sucked in by whirlpool in Chindwin river

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, November 11, 2001 - A passenger boat was sucked in by a whirlpool in Chindwin river in Sagaing Division on the evening of November 8 and more than 30 people were not yet found, a report said.

    The boat named Ngwe Zin Thein, running between Monywa and Homlin sucked in by Long-Great whirlpool near Gazart village in Kalaywa township near Indo-Burma border on the evening of November 8, the report said.More than 30 passengers amongst one hundred had not yet found although around 70 people were rescued.

    NMG has not yet confirmed about the boat sink from any confirmed source and there is no official report from Burmese regime concerning with the disaster. There was no storm during last Monsoon season but there were heavy rains in Upper Burma and Shan State at the end of this rainy season.
    Preparations made for "Day of Prayer for Peace in Burma"

    Network Media Group

    Chiang Mai, November 11, 2001- Preparations, needed for the media strategy for a call on "Day of Prayer for Peace in Burma", were made during a communication training attended by ethnic youths from Burma on Thai-Burma border from November 5-9.

    During the four days long training, organized by a group called Burma Initiatives, youths from eleven ethnic groups from Burma divided into four groups and prepared the materials needed for media advocacy for the day of prayer including Press Release, a radio program, a cassette tape and a brochure. One of the reporters from NMG visited to the training.

    "Every year in March for last six years, a day of prayer for peace in Burma has been marked and activities were carried out. In previous years, people from more than fifty counties have made responses for the day," Amy Davisson from Christian Concerned for Burma said to NMG. "This year, people of different faiths, are asked to light a candle at 7 pm local time to show the solidarity on March 10, 2002," she continued.

    The preparation of the materials for media advocacy for the day of prayer were made jointly by 32 youths from different nationalities including Kachin, Kayan, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Arakan, Shan, Palaung, Pa-O and Lahu as well as Burman. NMG learnt that the materials for the Day of Prayer for 2002 will be released during February 2002.
    UN envoy plans Myanmar visit

    YANGON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - United Nations special envoy to Myanmar Razali Ismail will return to the country at the end of this month in a fresh bid to unite the military government and opposition, a U.N. source said on Monday.

    "According to the tentative plan, Mr Razali will come here from November 27 to December 4," the source told Reuters. She said the planned visit was still to be formally approved by Myanmar's military government.

    Razali, a veteran Malaysian diplomat, has visited Myanmar four times since he took up a mandate to promote human rights and democracy in Myanmar in April 2000. Razali last visited Myanmar in August and left saying he was hopeful of progress in the talks.

    On each of his visits he has met senior military figures and opposition leaders, including Nobel laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD won Myanmar's last election in 1990 by a landslide but was never allowed to govern.

    Suu Kyi has been under virtual house arrest for more than a year, despite having entered into secretive talks -- brokered by Razali -- with the governing State Peace and Development Council.

    Since the talks began in late 2000, the SPDC has released 186 NLD members from detention and allowed the opposition party to reopen 25 branch offices. According to rights group Amnesty International, Myanmar's jails still hold more than 1,500 political prisoners. The military has ruled Myanmar since 1962.