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Fwd: Burma Attacks Rebel-Held Areas
- Subject: Fwd: Burma Attacks Rebel-Held Areas
- From: BURMAJAPAN@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 18:22:00
Date: 97-02-13 06:37:04 EST
<HTML><PRE><I>.c The Associated Press</I></PRE></HTML>
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Outnumbered by Burmese troops, Karen
insurgents burned down their own headquarters as fighting raged in
the jungle of eastern Burma, a Karen officer said today.
The government launched an offensive late Tuesday against the
last two areas in Burma still controlled by the Karen National
Union, which has been fighting for autonomy from Rangoon on behalf
of the Karen people since 1948.
``We didn't want to leave the Burmese anything,'' said Col.
Isaac, an officer in KNU. Like many Karen, he uses only one name.
About 500 KNU troops had been struggling to hold Teakaplaw, the
headquarters of the KNU's president and military commander, Bo Mya,
against 1,500 Burmese government troops, Isaac told The Associated
Press by telephone.
Knowing they could not hold out against superior numbers, the
rebels fell back rather than lose men. ``We have completely changed
our tactics,'' Isaac said. ``We are fighting a hit-and-run
guerrilla war now.''
The 100 villagers who lived at Teakaplaw have joined the nearly
3,000 Karen who have fled to Thailand since recent fighting
The government has thrown nearly 5,000 troops supported by
artillery against the KNU's 2,700 men along a 225-mile front.
Ten government soldiers have been killed in the fighting in the
last few days, while there have been no Karen casualties, Karen
Burmese military officials did not immediately respond to
requests for information about the fighting and casualties.
Isaac said KNU troops would not retreat into Thailand, where
nearly 90,000 Karen refugees have been living along the border for
years. ``We are determined to stay in Burma,'' he said.
The KNU is the last major ethnic army that has not signed a
cease-fire agreement with the military government of Burma, also
known as Myanmar. The two sides have held several rounds of peace
talks in the last 18 months.
<HTML><PRE><I>Copyright 1997 The Associated Press. The information
contained in the AP news report may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without
prior written authority of The Associated Press.</I></PRE></HTML>
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