Intelligence (August 2006)
covering burma and southeast asia
Friday, May 29, 2020
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Intelligence (August 2006)


By THE IRRAWADDY AUGUST, 2006 - VOLUME 14 NO.8


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Immediately after the 2004 shakeup he is believed to have arranged safe passage out of the country for close associates and a former girlfriend, all of whom were able to apply for asylum in the west.

 

 

Shan Rebels Come in from the Cold

 

Press reports in Burma’s state-run media have said that Shan State Army-South’s Col Moengzuen, commander of Brigade 758, “returned to the legal fold.” This unexpected move, however, has left many unanswered questions.

 

Moengzuen is said to have surrendered with 848 comrades, and to have turned over a large cache of arms, including heavy weapons, after “realizing the national development endeavors and sincerity of the government, the entire people and the Tatmadaw [armed forces].” SSA-S officials were quick to dispute the numbers reported in state-run The New Light of Myanmar.

 

Last April, Moengzuen threw his support behind a “Federal Shan State,” hastily declared by the interim Shan government, a group of exiled Shan led by 68-year-old Sao Surkhanpha, eldest son of Burma’s first president Sao Shwe Thaike.

 

According to sources in Shan State, Moengzuen tried to persuade villagers in his region of control to support the newly declared government by holding religious ceremonies and arguing for the legitimacy of the exiled Shan government. At the same time, Burma’s ruling junta forced local residents to attend mass rallies denouncing the exiled Shan government in exile.

 

SSA-S leaders refused to acknowledge any exiled government, and after more than a year of lobbying unsuccessfully for its adoption, Moengzuen is thought to have allied himself with Burma’s generals. While his motives remain unclear, Moengzuen has reaped significant benefits. At a press conference announcing the surrender last month, attended by foreign diplomats, UN representatives and journalists, Burma’s Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan announced that the Shan rebels would be allowed to keep their weapons to defend against threats from other SSA-S brigades.



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