Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Junta resumes pressure on Wa, allies

(SHAN) -Following the 20th anniversary of “peace construction” between the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Burma’s ruling military council, which was marked with great pomp and fanfare on 17 April, a new round of meeting between the two have begun, according to a source close to the Wa authority.

Xiao Minliang, Vice President of the “Wa Government,” leading a 20-member delegation, left for Tangyan during the weekend to meet Lt-Gen Ye Myint, chief negotiator for the junta.

“The main issue would likely be the standing 3 point demand by the Burmese military,” he said.

The 3 points are:
• To surrender
• Or to become an auxiliary force under the Tatmadaw
• For elderly leaders to retire and establish a political party to contest the 2010 elections

The Wa already have the United Wa State Party (UWSP). Its leader Bao Youxiang is wearing 3 different hats:
• President, Government of Wa State
• Secretary General, United Wa State Party (UWSP)
• Commander in Chief, United Wa State Army (UWSA)

“What will be interesting is how the delegates are going to respond to Ye Myint’s query,” said an observer.

Bao Youxiang

The Wa have so far yet to say Yes or No to the demand. “The marathon (National Convention) starting in 1993 has lasted for more than ten years. Wa authorities have not failed to send delegations to attend during all those years. Our deputies have clearly expressed our position which is the Wa region requests to be granted autonomy with district or state status. GUM (Government of Union of Myanmar) has finally enfranchised Wa ethnic region the status of an autonomous prefecture, which doesn’t fully satisfy our request. To enhance the democratic process of our country and sufficiently reflect ethnic reconciliation, we will continue our dialogue and negotiate with GUM to solve the problem and we believe we can solve the problem through dialogue,” Bao said in his speech on 17 April.

Apparently for the same purpose, leaders of the Shan State Army (SSA) North, “our closet ally outside the United Front” according to the Wa, are also gathering at their Hseng Keow base in Hsipaw township.

“We’ve also been notified by Kengtung to be ready with our own answers,” said a source from the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), a member of the Wa led Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), headed by Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian.

All have so far been resisting Naypyitaw’s pressure either to surrender or become auxiliaries to the Tatmadaw and enter the planned elections.

READ MORE---> Junta resumes pressure on Wa, allies...

Sittwe Residents Suffer Water Shortage

Sittwe (Narinjara): Residents in Sittwe have been suffering from a shortage of water supplied by the municipality since the beginning of summer, said Daw Hla Tin, a leader in Rupa Wra Ward in Sittwe.

"We are now facing a critical condition with the shortage of water. We receive water for only two hours every four days, and it is distributed to all the households in Sittwe by the Municipal authority. It is a big problem for everyone in Sittwe because the supply of water is insufficient for all the people in our city," said Daw Hla. In Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, there is a single reservoir pond named Kandawgyi that supplies water to the city. The reservoir was built by the British government in 1906 to supply water to the approximately 20,000 residents living in Sittwe at the time.

"As water is short in the pond, the officials reduced the number of times the water is supplied to the town. The pond is now unable to store water for all the people in our city because the population in Sittwe is now over 300,000. We people have to face such a water shortage problem every summer," Daw Hla added.

According to a local resident, many remote wards in Sittwe, including Kyi Pru Wra, Min Gan, Sat Rokya, Nazi Wra, and San Pya, have not received any water since summer started in Arakan.

A young girl from Min Gan said, "I heard water in Kandawgyi is short and the authority has saved water by decreasing the number of times water is supplied. Since then, people in our ward have not been receiving water. Now we use water from tube wells and well waters."

Women in some wards in Sittwe have to line up with water pots every day in the early morning near their local water wells to carry water to home for daily use.

A source from Sittwe said that due to the water shortage, some children from Kyi Pru Wra and Min Ga Wards are suffering from diarrhea but their families can not afford to take them to the hospital for treatment.

The Burmese military authority is aware of the water shortage that happens every summer in Sittwe, but has never tried to make upgrades to help meet the residents' water needs. Arakan State receives over 120 inches of rain every year during the rainy season, but due to poor infrastructure the state faces a water shortage every year during the dry season.

READ MORE---> Sittwe Residents Suffer Water Shortage...

Karen group urge end to international support of junta

(DVB)–Burma’s main armed opposition group has urged the international community not to support the military government after denouncing the junta for pursuing the proposed 2010 election.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Karen National Union labeled the elections unfair due to the number of political prisoners, lack of press freedom and lack of freedom of expression in Burma.

The government had ignored pleas from the United Nations and pro-democracy groups and will go ahead with the election, it said.

“Twenty-five per cent of the representatives of the army will be in the parliament,” said KNU vice-chairman David Thackrabaw.

“Moreover, the army's puppet organizations and political parties will be representatives.”

He added that the judicial department would have no freedom under the new constitution.

"As the constitution itself is wrong, the emerging government will be a military government wearing the skin of civilians,” he said.

“Human rights violations and injustices will continue to exist like that of a dictatorial system."

The KNU have denounced the rash ratification of the new constitution by the military government, which was signed last year only a few weeks after cyclone Nargis hit.

The statement also pointed out the fact that the constitution does not allow the traditions and customs of ethnic national groups.

Reporting by Nay Htoo

READ MORE---> Karen group urge end to international support of junta...

NLD Meets on 2010 Election

The Irrawaddy News

RANGOON (AP)— Burma's military government tightened security as the country's pro-democracy party of detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi gathered Tuesday to discuss political issues including next year's planned election.

Attendees will consider proposals for the 2010 elections, but might not decide about whether to take part, party spokesman Nyan Win said.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy maintains that the polling will take place under a constitution aimed at ensuring the military's domination of politics. The document also has clauses that bar Suu Kyi from office.

The party has repeatedly urged the government to review the military-backed constitution, saying it was "approved by force" in a referendum last year.

About 100 party members from various parts of the country registered at the party headquarters Monday to attend the two-day meeting, Nyan Win said. They include elected candidates of the last general election in 1990 whose results were annulled by the military.

"We will discuss party organizational activities, prevailing political conditions, and the constitution. We will also discuss and exchange views on the elections," Nyan Win said.

Police were deployed near party headquarters Monday while dozens of plainclothes policemen watched the building from across the street and a convoy of four to seven trucks carrying anti-riot police cruised the city.

Burma's military, which has held power since 1962, tolerates little dissent. The current junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy uprising and has stepped up its campaign against opposition politicians and activists ahead of next year's polls.

READ MORE---> NLD Meets on 2010 Election...

Burmese Army, DKBA lose 10 soldiers

by Daniel Pedersen

Mae Sot (Mizzima) - The Burmese Army and its ally, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, have lost a total of 10 soldiers in their bid to capture a Karen National Liberation Army base camp south of the border town of Mae Sot.

On Monday five soldiers of Burma’s ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council were maimed by exploding landmines.

Two KNLA soldiers have been killed and three injured in the past 16 days, including a Colonel, Saw Jay.

Naypidaw’s forces have suffered almost 40 casualties, because of landmines and booby traps, in the past 16 days during which they laid siege to the camp, known as Wah Lay Kee.

The base is home to the sixth brigade’s 201st battalion and is about an hour’s drive south of Mae Sot.

A senior KNLA commander this morning said fighting continued throughout the day on Monday. Today much the same is expected.

The Burmese Army is now hugging the Thai border, in a bid to launch a fresh offensive against the main camp from the rear.

But the camp is so close to the Thai border it seems increasingly likely that Thailand’s sovereignty will be breached by troops of its neighbour.

The KNLA is fighting desperately to hold on to the camp.

The commander said the situation was “very difficult” and there did not seem to be much likelihood of a break in the fighting.

The past 16 days have been marked by lulls, but regular sorties against the main base camp appear part of a concerted effort to take the camp.

Wah Lay Kee was lost for a couple of days at the end of June last year, but reclaimed quickly.

READ MORE---> Burmese Army, DKBA lose 10 soldiers...

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