15 : Myanmar declares ethnic Shan rebels as terrorists
Yangon, August 26, 2006|13:20 IST
Myanmar's military government has declared a group of ethnic Shan rebels as terrorists, blaming them for a range of attacks over the last decade, state media reported on Saturday.
The declaration by the home affairs minister, Major General Maung Oo, was printed in official newspapers and named the Shan State Army-South as a terrorist group led by rebel leader Ywet Sit.
The statement accused SSA-South of "shooting innocent people to death for no apparent reason, detonating bombs, torching houses in villages and abducting villagers with the intention of creating public bloodshed and panic."
Myanmar has increasingly begun referring to its opponents as terrorists, including the opposition National League for Democracy led by detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Analysts have said that declaring its rivals as terrorists could forebode a new crackdown by the junta.
Shan rebels have been fighting the junta for autonomy in the eastern Shan state on Myanmar's eastern border with Thailand.
Shan rebels have split into several factions, but the SSA-South is one of the largest with some 5,000 members.
More than a dozen other ethnic minorities, including the Karen National Union (KNU), the oldest and largest, have fought against the government for decades although most have signed ceasefires in recent years.
Last month, the government claimed that a group of 848 fighters from the SSA-South had surrendered and handed over their weapons.
Human rights groups accuse Myanmar's military government of gross violations against ethnic Shan villagers.
Human Rights Watch last year accused Myanmar of waging a campaign of torture, rape and execution against ethnic Shan villagers and forcing the displacement of thousands.
Myanmar declares SSA-S group as terrorist organization
The Myanmar government has declared the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), an anti-government Shan ethnic armed group, as terrorist organization, official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar reported Saturday.
The declaration, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday, also announced members of the SSA-S group led by Ywet Sit as terrorists.
The authorities charged the SSA-S of harming the state and the people by shooting innocent people to dead, detonating bombs, torching houses in villages and abducting villagers with the intention of creating public bloodshed and panic.
The SSA-S and three other anti-government organizations were declared as unlawful associations in August last year. The other three are the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), the Federation of Trade Union - Burma (FTUB) and the All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF).
A total of 848 members of the SSA-S, led by deputy chief of staff and commander of 758 brigade Mein Sin made peace with the government on July 6 this year.
Meanwhile, the government also declared in April four unlawful associations -- Sein Win-led National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), Hla Oo and Pyithit Nyunt Wai (alias) Maung Maung-led Federation of Trade Union - Burma (FTUB), Than Khe-led All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) and Win Khet-led National League for Democracy-Liberated Area (NLD-LA), as terrorist organizations.