Written by U Ne Oo on 2000-01-31

Dear Friends:

As all Burma Observers are aware, there has been a very serious development with regards to ethnic rebel groups at Thai border. On January 24, about 10 armed rebels from the so-called God's Army, a splinter group of Karen National Union headed by two 12 years old twin boys, took control of Ratchaburi provincial hospital and requested Thai doctors treat their wounded colleagues. Later, the gunmen also requested Thai army stop shelling their base and Thai authorities giveauthorities give free passage to refugees. On early morning of 25 January, the Thai Commandoes raided the hospital and reportedly killed the gunmen. All civilians in hospital were reported unhurt (news/analysis enclosed).

Prior to this incident, we received internet reports about Burmese military launching an attack on God's Army. Reports also said Thai military had been shelling the rebel base after 4-Thai soldiers were killed in landmine explosion in Burmese territory. God's Army is God's Army is made up of 100 fighters, including children guerrillas. The Burmese army motive for attacking God's Army is unknown. However, the God's Army had accepted the 5 student fugitives who staged a siege of Burmese Embassy in Bangkok in October 1999. Considering unusual rage expressed by Burmese military leaders about the Bangkok Embassy Siege (FEER, 18-Nov-99), one possibility is that the SPDC/SLORC taking revenge on the God's Army.

The tension at Thai-Burmese border has reachrder has reached the most dangerous phase when Thai Commandoes killed all gunmen who seized Ratchaburi hospital. Unconfirmed report claims that the God's Army has vowed a revenge on killing of its comrades. The mainstream KNU and larger part of Burmese exiled community will unlikely to take revenge on that incident.

However, one cannot ruled out the revenge by disgruntled individuals or by isolated groups. In worst case scenario, there is possibility of SPDC/SLORC agents or the hardline elements within Thai military inciting ary inciting violence in border community to serve their political ends.

The ethnic conflict in Burma is certainly spilling over into Thailand, in addition to the refugee flows. This situation is threatening security of Thailand. We must call upon United Nations Security Council to decisively intervene the situation in Burma. Enclosed is my letter to UN Security Council president and members. Please make effort to write to UNSC and your government. I have also included addresses of Sedresses of Security Council members and Telefax numbers.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.

ENCLOSURES:

1. LETTER TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS (31/1/2000)

2. ADDRESSES OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

3. INTERNET/PRESS RELEASE ON (25/1/00) ABOUT THAI HOSPITAL SIEGE

4. LATEST NEWS ON THAI SIEGE, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST (27/1/00)


(1) LETTER TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS (31/1/00)

Dr U Ne Oo

18 Shannon Place

Adelaide SA 5000

AUSTRALIA.

January 31, 2000.

H.E. ARNOLD MANUEL LISTRE

President, UN Security Council

Ambassador, Argentina Mission to UN

One United Nations Plaza, 25th Floor

New York, N.Y. 10017. USA.

Your E10017. USA.

Your Excellency:

re: Thailand-Burma border situation

I call your attention to the recent developments at the Thailand-Burma border. In recent weeks, the Burmese military launched an attack against a small-splintered Karen guerrilla army, known as God's Army. The God's Army is headed by two 12 years old twin boys and is made up of 100 armed rebels, including children guerrillas. There was also disturbing reports about the Thai army's 9th Division became involved in the fight between Burmese arween Burmese army and the rebels. The Thai army reportedly shell the rebel base after 4 Thai soldiers killed in a landmine explosion in Burmese territory.



On the morning of 24th January, ten armed rebels from God's Army took control of Ratchaburi provincial hospital, and demanded Thai doctors treat their wounded colleagues. Later, the gunmen also demanded Thai army stop shelling their base and Thai authorities give free passage to the refugees. On early morning of 25th January, the Thai commandoes raided the hospital the hospital and reportedly killed all the gunmen. The God's Army has reportedly vowed to take revenge on killing of their comerades.



For several years, there have been a large number of refugees and displaced people from Burma crossing over into Thailand. I also like to recall, as in earlier communication to you in 6th September 1999, the Burmese military junta has engaged in illicit drug production and trafficking. For long time, Thailand has been inundated by heroin and cheap amphetamine-type-stimulant tabletsmulant tablets produced in Burma. At this time, it become evident that the political and military conflict in Burma has spilled over into Thailand in its most violent form. It is clear that the situation in Burma is threatening the peace and security of Thailand.



I therefore call upon you to convene the UN Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Burma. The UN Security Council must demand the Government of Burma to improve its human rights records immediately and to accelerate the transition towards demon towards democratic rules.



In closing, I thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Yours respectfully and sincerely

(Sd.U Ne Oo)

Copy to:

1. H.E. Arnold Manuel Listre (Argentina), President of Security Council

2. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations.




(2) ADDRESSES OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS AS OF FEBRUARY 2000

UN Security Council has 15 members, 5 Permanent Members (United States, China, France, United Kingdom and Russian Federation) and 10 elected by General Assembly to the Security Council. Current 10 members of SC elected are Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali Namibia, Netherlands, Tunisia and Ukraine. The Presidency of Security Council is assigned in rotation. Currently, Presidency is held by Agentina, The Hon. Ambassador, ARNOLD MANUEL LISTRE.



H.E. ARNOLD MANUEL LISTRE

President, UN Security Council

Permanent Representative

of Argentina to the United Nations

One United Nations Plaza, 25th Floor

New York, N.Y. 10017. USA.

Telefax: (+1-212)980-8395
H.E. RICHARD HOLBROOK

Permanent Representative of

the United States to the United Nations

799 United Nations Plaza

New York, N.Y. 10017-35k, N.Y. 10017-3505

Telefax: (+1-212)415-4443

H.E. MR SERGEY V. LAVROV

Permanent Representative of

the Russian Federation to the United Nations

136 East 67th Street

New York, N.Y. 10021

Telefax: (+1-212)628-0252

H.E. SIR JOHN WESTON

Permanent Representative of

the United Kingdom to the United Nations

One Dag Hammarskj÷ld Plaza

885 Second Ave

885 Second Avenue

New York, N.Y. 10017

Telefax: (+1-212)745-9316
H.E. MR LI ZHAOXING

Permanent Representative of

the People's Republic of China to the United Nations

350 East 35th Street

New York, N.Y. 10016

Telefax: (+1-212)634-7626
H.E. M JEAN-BERNARD MERIMEE

Permanent Representative of

France to the United Nations

One Dag Hammarskj÷ld Plaza

245 East 47th Street, 44th Floor 44th Floor

New York, N.Y. 10017

Telefax: (+1-212)421-6889

(3) INTERNET/PRESS RELEASE POSTED ON TUESDAY 25, 2000; 6:00AM

GOD'S ARMY: OUR YOUNG LIBERATORS IN WRONG STEP

There has been a dramatic development at the Ratchaburi province in recent hours. About 10 armed rebels from God's Army, which led by 12 years old twin brothers and a splinter group of Karen National Union, has taken contro has taken control of local Thai hospital and demanded Thai doctors treat their colleagues. The Thai authorities sent down a 300 strong police force to handle the hospital siege. Thai interior minister instructed police to take tough action against the rebels.

In recent weeks, the Burmese army has been in its dry season offensive against God's Army, which made up of 100 guerrillas. There have been unconfirmed reports of Thai army shelling of these rebels, after having lost four soldiers in an explosion of landmine within Burmese terrtory. The God's Army is certainly under pressure from two armies. The rebels demand, so far, seems to be to treat their wounded colleagues at that hospital. Whether Burmese army has any taste for military victory over the God's Army is something to ponder. But any suggestion on this hospital siege as terrorist activity may considered being far-fetched.

For outside observers, the overall political picture at the Thai/Burmese border have suddenly become confusing since November-1999. The plight of Burmese migrant workers, though, have eased somewhat. But, there are unconfirmed reports of Thai military pushing the refugees(recent arrivals) across Burmese border. The UNHCR has also been requested by

Thai NSC to step up efforts to stem the tide of inflow of Burmese refugees into Thailand. Recent reports by Bangkok Post regarding repatriation of refugees to Burma are also not helping to alleviate our confusion. Some information blackout on the Internet has also been detected.

One notable thing of our political m

One notable thing of our political movement is that its precarious existence amongst powerful international political forces. The ethnic rebel fighters, especially, have to rely on the understanding of neighboring government/army. In politics, these supports are fragile and slight mistake could have make a lot of damage.

Though political consequence for the God's Armys hospital siege may be undesirable, it will be quite unfair to blame the God's Army for taking such drastic action. Only those who are on the ground would know the kind of pressure applied by Burmese and Thai army. I am quite concern about the situation in Thailand as the usual communications from our groups via internet are not receiving. Another unfortunate factor: passing away last December of U Tin Maung Win, who was the Vice-chair of DAB. When activist of this stature died, various contacts and leadership went away with him. There is certain vacuum exists as regards ethnic federal movement.

In any case, I can certainly foresee a tougher time ahead for all our pro-democracy groups in Thailand. Furthermore, a lot more refined political judgment will have to be made by our refugees and pro-democracy leaders by themselves, in order to keep our ethnic federal movement alive.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.




(4) LATEST NEWS ON THAI SIEGE

South China Morning Post, January 27, 2000.

Troops' border action spurred Karen attack

The Thai security forces that so proudly and decisively ended the siege may also houdly and decisively ended the siege may also have triggered the crisis. Several sources said the Thai army had recently appeared to let Burmese troops move across Thai territory to attack the self-styled God's Army in their border enclave.



As a result, the hard-pressed breakaway group of perhaps 150 Karen Christian fighters decided to lay mines on a key "backdoor" pathway into their stronghold.



The seeds of an unfolding crisis continued to be sewn a week ago when four Thai soldiers - allegedly chasing God's Army people inside Burmee inside Burmese territory, according to one source - trod on some of the landmines and were blown up.



In retaliation, the army started shelling the nearest Karen community, inflicting casualties on soldiers and civilians. In desperation, 10 of the Karen burst across the border and tried to put pressure on the Thais by taking hostages. It may have been just a whim that led them to target the hospital.



The God's Army - no more than a few score fighters and perhaps a few hundred families - lived families - live in a tough world. They were trying to hold off an army notorious among human rights observers for killing, raping and pillaging in vulnerable Karen villages.



Unfortunately for the God's Army, the 9th Infantry Division opposite them is notorious for its rough handling of refugees and dissidents and its close relations with its Burmese army counterparts across the border.



Several pro-democracy activists in Thailand said this engagement with the regime's dark side was both morally and polmorally and politically wrong.



"It would not be good for Thailand to dance to the song of Rangoon," said Somchai Homlaor, the Secretary-general of the Asia Forum on Human Rights.

"If we don't stay neutral in this conflict then the violence is likely to spread to Thailand."



This may already be happening. Unconfirmed reports from the border claim that God's Army - under the mystical leadership of 12-year-old twin brothers - have sworn revenge for the killings.

Request to UNSC re: Thai-Burma border situation