Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ethnic Groups Reject ‘Ammunition for Rebels’ Report

Burma’s ethnic groups operating along Thai-Burma border have rejected a Thai newspaper report suggesting a cache of ammunition found in Northern Thailand could have been intended for their forces.

The report, in Wednesday’s issue of the English-language daily Bangkok Post, said 800 rounds of ammunition had been found near Chiang Mai, hidden in fertilizer sacks.

Leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) all rejected the report. SSA-S spokesman Hseng Murng, said it was unethical and accused the Bangkok Post writer of “fawningly reporting for Burma military junta.”

Burmese political commentator Aung Naing Oo suggested the “baseless report” linked the discovery of the ammunition and the visit to Bangkok by Burmese Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein.

Thai military experts told the Bangkok Post that the ammunition was of a caliber previously used by the Thai army but now employed by armed ethnic minorities in operations along the Thai-Burmese border.

The discovery of the ammunition follows two bomb incidents in Chiang Mai this month. On April 25, army experts defused an explosive device found on a city street. Two weeks earlier, a bomb was used in a raid on a bank on the same street.

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