Junta Constructing Tunnel in Magway
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Junta Constructing Tunnel in Magway

By YAN PAING Friday, June 4, 2010


The Burmese military regime is constructing a tunnel in Rakhine Yoma, some 80 km west of Padan Township in Magway Division, local sources said.

The tunnel is 50 feet wide and 50 feet high, a worker from the project said, and is being supervised by North Korean technicians.

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“Only cars which are authorized by the local army can enter the project area,” he said. “The tunnel is quite long and when they dynamite the tunnel, people have just 30 minutes to get outside.”

Another worker said that the new tunnel is connected to several other tunnels that are burrowed into the mountainside.

Workers such as carpenters and welders work in day and night shifts, and earn 900 kyat (US $0.90) per shift at the site, the worker said.

On Friday, fresh evidence of the regime constructing a secret network of hidden bunkers and tunnels across the country surfaced. According to an investigative film by an exiled Burmese broadcaster, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), which was aired by Al Jazeera on Friday, some tunnels are marked as substations for fiber optic cables and are part of a plan to provide the military with a secure nationwide communications network.

“They are constructing a tunnel ... a huge tunnel. Many tunnels all over the country,” said Sai Thein Win—a former defense engineer and missile expert who recently defected from the army—in the film.

The documentary also revealed bunkers alleged to be used as secret military storage facilities and command centers in case of aerial attacks.

When Ne Win’s socialist government was in power in the 1980s and 90s, a series of defense and military equipment factories were built between the Irrawaddy River and Rakhine Yoma, and in Htone Bo, Nyaung Chay Htauk and Ma Lon. The factories are connected with the Pathein- Monywa highway. Padan is also located near the Pathein- Monywa highway with easy access to the strategic Min Bu– Amm highway.

No transparent plans or records exist that describe the tunnel project, nor whether it is for military or economic purposes.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, a source from Naypyidaw’s military community said, “There are a lot of secret military projects in Minn Done, Padan, Pwint Phyu, Say Tote Taya, Salin, Pakkoku, Laung Shay, Saw and on the western side of Seik Phyu Township.”

He continued: “When the current telecommunications minister, Maj-Gen Thein Zaw, was chairman of Magway Division, he planned to extract uranium with Col Zaw Minn, the commander of 88 Command in Saku.”                

He said the military regime also has plans to construct munitions factories in Bago Yoma, Naypyidaw, Natt Mauk, Aung Lan and Pauk Khaung.

Sai Thein Win told the DVB that he has shown the secret files from the project to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In November 2008, a Burmese military delegation led by Gen Shwe Mann flew secretly to North Korea and met the army-in-chief, Gen Kim Kyok-sik. They agreed terms of cooperation on several military initiatives, including radar and jamming units, air defense systems, and a computer-controlled command center. The delegation also visited North Korean SCUD missile factories which are located in the tunnels.

The two countries signed an agreement that North Korea will help in the construction of military facilities for missiles, aircraft and war ships.

Further evidence of cooperation between the two countries surfaced in June 2009 when a ship from North Korea en route to Burma was suspected of carried weapons. International media agencies broadcast footage and photos of the Burmese regime's network of tunnels and claimed they were part of an underground nuclear bunker.

The Irrawaddy reporter Ba Kaung contributed to this article.

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Moe Aung Wrote:
Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF

Scared of the nuclear arms race? So you should be. The only sensible thing coming out of you so far.

The WMDs would not be for national security but for their own security and continued license to misrule. Perfectly understandable reason to persist down this fatal path, and given the Burmese mentality with a strong streak of bloodymindedness that defies logic, you can envisage these guys going down shouting "Do Bama!" with defiance in their eyes.

Even bombardment and invasion I wouldn't wish it on any nation, let alone a nuclear strike. Collateral damage is collateral only in the sick and twisted jargon of the perpetrators.

Ne Win at least knew his place and never tried to punch above his weight. He was staunchly anti-communist in the Cold War era, so the West was very comfortable just looking on. Now your guys are in bed with the new menace China that badly needs containment according to Jim Webb.

Perhaps your generals are forming a suicide pact. Great.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
1.TV documentaries have been found to be fabrications at worst and selective and purposeful reporting.
2.Who financed DVB to co-operate with Al Jazeera?
3.Which way is Al Jazeera bent?
4.Did they pay DVB to provide the information for the broadcast?
5.We can hope that the allegations turn out to be only allegations.
6.If not, to enter the nuclear arms race is one of the most stupid ventures, for which we can all be severely punished although it is not our making.
7. National security does not depend on weapon of mass destruction alone; diplomacy plays a most important role; other factors include Gross National Product.
8. If indeed the nuclear ambition is pursued at the expense of education, public health and economic development, those responsible in the junta will see their heads roll.
No, we totally disagree with our country entering the nuclear arms race. No,no,no!

PB Publico Wrote:
I have watched the Al Jazeera TV broadcast on the subject. Horrible and awfully stupid. I had all along thought Than Shwe was stupid. Now his stupidity is almost beyond words. I say "almost" sinply because he won't stop his latent capacity for stupidity here at this most horrible, reckless, ruthless point. He is an agent of Mara the devil, working against goodwill and everything that belongs to the human heart and conscience. His greed for power is beyond the people's resources.
I have once, some long time ago, commented to a German friend, 'You know why you people lost WW II? Your Fascist leader did not know where to stop." The friend chuckled and said, "You said it." He might not have agreed, but I still think I said it right.
Than Shwe does not know where and when to stop. And how, even if he wants to.
His horoscope says he will end up in the ditch or tunnel he has dug up.
Like whom? You know whom I mean.

Zam Mang Wrote:
Why are they digging their own grave? We the people need the government which cares about us, not the tunnels and nuclear warheads. We already got too much loss of lives in the hands of the military dictatorship. No more please.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
1.Governments, wherever they are, do not have to publicise projects involving national security.FACT!
2.Building a tunnel to Yakhine Yoma is no evidence of nuke ambition. To have direct access to Yakhine Yoma from central Burma is most desirable; the tunnel could even be used for TRANSPORT of goods and raw materials. Besides, it creates jobs!
3.It could be part of the game plan of hegemony to drive Burma into the so-called 'axis of evil'; it could be part of the design.
It is feasible that some 'hawks' in the junta are being gullible and playing into the hands of the 'grand master'; we do not mean Sen.Gen ThanShwe.
4.The hegemon's ultimate aim is 'forced engagement' with Burma, whereas the junta has no wish to engage.
5.The late ShuMaung bankrupted Burma,tortured, mained and killed thousands of innocent people; The US did not bat an eyelid! Get the point?
Besides,the US was with almost all military juntas—Chile, Brazil, Sapin, to name a few. Democracy was never the reason.
6. Now democracy is a useful excuse.

Zam Mang Wrote:
Why are these thugs feeling insecurity? Why are they spending so much money for these kinds of projects? While we the people are so hungry, they are wasting tons of money for these kinds of programs. What is their agenda? Are they filled with nightmares? If they are, these nightmares are created by themselves, not by the public. I am sorry.

Moe Aung Wrote:
Like watching a Bond movie when you get to Blofeld's underground stronghold complete with rocket silos, it makes you wonder how they expect such huge projects involving hundreds if not thousands of workers can ever be kept secret.

Whilst they are busy fortifying themselves from foreign intervention or invasion, we must carry on with our own efforts to undermine military misrule by ceaselessly working on the army rank and file.

They may seem unassailable right now and going from strength to strength, high and mighty like those giant statues at Naypyidaw, but don't forget they have feet of clay since they depend on repression and injustice.

What are generals without an army? What are officers without troops? Pull the rug from under them.

Remember Trotsky's dictum: An insurrection is in essence not so much a struggle AGAINST the army as a struggle FOR the army.

And Mao's dictum: Replenish our strength with all the arms and most of the personnel captured from the enemy. Let's win them over.

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