Shwe Mann “Behind Karen Offensive”
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Shwe Mann “Behind Karen Offensive”

By The Irrawaddy Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Military analysts in Rangoon suggest that Gen Shwe Mann, a Karen Buddhist, might be behind the recent offensive in Karen state.

Shwe Mann, the regime’s No 3 in seniority, is attached to the Defense Ministry and will likely oversee day-to-day operations in Karen State, military analysts in Rangoon said.

He is probably based in the military operations room in Naypyidaw, the regime’s new administrative city, they say.

According to ex-intelligence officers and army officers who were close to military planning in the recent past, the regime had developed a plan to attack No 2 and No 3 Brigades of the KNLA first, while leaving other Karen areas until later.

In fact, the military attack on the areas of Nyaunglaybin and Taungoo was under the command of Lt-Gen Khin Maung Than, chief of the Bureau of Special Operations Number 3.

Khin Maung Than, former Rangoon Division Commander, is reported to be taking an uncompromising stance toward Karen rebels. He received instructions to secure the two areas by moving against civilians and insurgents.

The operation is intended to deprive the rebels of information, supplies and other assistance, and to block their recruiting and propaganda efforts, say analysts.

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