Daily News- April 09- 2002- Tuesday

  • Two prominent writers detained, their homes demolished
  • Authorities Raid Neighborhood
  • Thai Troops on Alert Along Thai-Myanmar Border
  • Junta man due for tee talks
  • Myanmar junta releases five democracy activists

  • Two prominent writers detained, their homes demolished

    By Maung Maung Myint,
    Burma Media Association

    7 April 2002 (BMA) -- Two prominent Burmese writers, U Win Pe (pen name Maung Swan Yi) and Daw San May (pen name Shwegu May Hnin) have been put under house arrest at their “new homes” since Saturday after their original houses were demolished by security forces.

    School teacher Daw Yin Yin Myint and U Sai Hla Kyaw who live in the same district were also apprehended. The reason of their arrest is not yet known but local residents believe that frank interviews given by some of them to overseas Burmese language radio stations might have upset the military authorities.

    More-than-a-thousand-member-strong forces composed of soldiers, security policemen and the members of pro-military organization USDA (Union Solidarity and Development Association) have stormed into Rangoon’s Waggi district of Kamayut township on Friday night and demolished 25 houses including those of the detainees.

    The operation was led by Kamayut regional commander major Yan Naing Oo. Waggi district was first destroyed by fire in 1977 and new houses were allowed to build again in 1999. However, the military government has later changed its mind and demanded that they be relocated at somewhere else.

    The residents were ordered by Major Yan Naing Oo to demolish their houses at their own expense not later than Friday and further warned that they may be arrested if they failed to do so. When asked by the residents about government’s future plan for this confiscated plot, major Yan Naing Oo refused to answer.

    U Win Pe, 65, is an esteemed writer who won the National Literary Prize in 1964. He had written many analytical literature and poems. Daw San May, 63, is much admired for her novels and translations. She is also an elected MP of National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide election victory in 1990 but has been blocked from assuming power in the military-run state.

    To The Top

    Authorities Raid Neighborhood

    By Kyaw Zwa Moe and John S Moncreif
    The Irrawaddy

    April 08, 2002-A one thousand member force of army, riot police and local police raided a residential neighborhood in Rangoon’s Kamaryut Township on the night of April 5th, according to a Rangoon resident.

    As authorities began destroying homes and detaining residents, an elderly woman yelled at the security forces, calling them robbers, said an eyewitness.

    The destruction and arrests follow the refusal of the residents to obey an order issued by Col Yan Naing Oo last month. He ordered the twenty-five families of Kamaryut's Waggi quarter to evacuate and move their homes by April 5th or face arrest.

    "I think that they have been arrested because of refusing to move their homes and expressing their discontent for the regional authorities, including Col Yan Naing Oo, in the interview with RFA (Radio Free Asia)," the Rangoon resident told the Irrawaddy.

    Several residents spoke openly last week while using their real names during interviews with the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) Burmese service. The interviews were later broadcast into Burma.

    Security forces demolished seven homes and detained the residents and their children. Authorities later separated the children and the adults before sending both groups to different detention centers. The government also sent doctors and nurses to the scene to take care of the sick and elderly, according to the source.

    It is not known how many people have been apprehended or where they are being held. Officials ordered the remaining families to vacate their homes by April 7th, the source added.

    Included among the detainees was Daw San May (pen name Shwe Gu May Hnin), an author and elected Member of Parliament from the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD); U Win Pe (pen name Maung Swan Yi), a respected critic and poet; Yin Yin Myint, a teacher, and U Sai Hla Kyaw, according to a report from the Burma Media Association.

    The government did not give any reason for the forced eviction, according to several Waggi residents. But a former Waggi resident, who sold his property to a business interest two years ago, reported that a deal between investors and local authorities was behind the order to relocate the neighborhood.

    The forced relocation of some Rangoon neighborhoods has taken place since the 1988 democracy uprising. Several neighborhoods, which were vocal in their opposition to the government, have been relocated to areas outside of Rangoon for security purposes. Other forced relocations in Rangoon have occurred to make room for well connected business interests. In the rural areas, forced relocation is a commonly employed military tactic to cut support for ethnic insurgents.

    The forced relocation has received criticism by Burmese activists' abroad. Yesterday, Burmese activists in Washington, DC gathered in front of the Burmese ambassador’s house to protest the government’s action.

    To The Top

    Thai Troops on Alert Along Thai-Myanmar Border

    BANGKOK, April 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Thai troops were put on high alertalong the Thai-Myanmar border in Tak province, 450 kilometers northwest of Bangkok, after three houses in Thai side were damages by shells flying from the Myanmar, the Thai News Agency reported Monday.

    Col. Saksilp Klansanoh was quoted as saying that the Myanmar government troops and Buddhist Karen Forces clashed with Karen National Union (KNU) on Sunday and the shells flying across the border damages three Thai household. However, no people were killed or injured in the incident, the report said.

    Thai troops near the border had been instructed to be on high alert, Saksilp said, adding that Thai soldiers also received the order to fire back if more shells fell into the Thai soil, and more armor tanks had been deployed along the border.

    Junta man due for tee talks

    Wassana Nanuam
    The Bangkokpost

    Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh will be frank and direct in talks while golfing with Gen Maung Aye during the Burmese army chief's April 23-25 visit, his deputy Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa said.

    Besides border disputes and drugs, there were several other issues that Gen Chavalit would raise with Gen Maung Aye during their informal talks over a game of golf in Phuket, Gen Yuthasak said.

    It was earlier reported that the military and narcotics officials also wanted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Gen Chavalit to negotiate with Gen Maung Aye for the arrest and extradition to Thailand of two fugitive drug kingpins Wei Hseuh-kang and Surachai, alias Bang Ron, Ngernthongfu.

    Meanwhile, Burmese authorities have formally informed the defence minister's chief adviser Gen Pat Akkanibutr of their decision to cancel this year's plan for a joint Thai-Burmese Songkran celebration in Tak province, citing Burma's internal problems as the reason.

    To The Top

    Myanmar junta releases five democracy activists

    YANGON, April 9 (AFP) - Myanmar's military junta said Tuesday it had released from prison five members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), bringing to 38 the number freed since mid-February.

    "Today five NLD members were being released from various correctional institutions," a government spokesman said in a statement."They are in good health and reunited with their respective families," he said, identifying those released as Sein Myint, Tin Hlaing, Khin Maung Oo, Aye Win and Khin Htar.

    More than 250 political prisoners have been released by the junta since it embarked on landmark talks with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi in October 2000.The secret talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under virtual house arrest in her Yangon home since a month before the contacts began, have raised hopes of democratic reforms in the military-ruled state.

    United Nations envoy Razali Ismail, who brokered the dialogue that began in October 2000, is due to visit Yangon on April 22.His trip to Myanmar was originally set for last month but was postponed by the junta after they announced they had snuffed out a coup attempt by relatives of former dictator Ne Win.

    To The Top