Fri, Jan 28, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Myanmar tries to hunt down child rebels along border

AGENCIES , BANGKOK

A guerrilla group headed by 12-year-old twins that has been linked to the takeover of a Thai hospital was running from the Myanmar army in the jungle along the border with Thailand, according to reports from Myanmar dissidents yesterday.

The apparent capture of God's Army's Ka Mar Pa Law camp by Myanmar troops yesterday came two days after 10 gunmen from the Karen rebel group and another allied band of guerrillas, the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors, were killed by Thai special forces, ending their siege of a Thai hospital.

Journalists from the Democratic Voice of Burma, a dissident radio station with good contacts among Myanmar opposition groups, said their sources reported that the God's Army camp fell early yesterday morning.

The whereabouts of the twin leaders of God's Army, Johnny and Luther Htoo, were not known, but the rebels were said to have divided up into three groups.

Thailand's army has stepped up security on the Myanmar border amid fears that Karen guerrillas may seek revenge for the killing of the rebels involved in the hospital siege, a senior official said yesterday.

The US, meanwhile, has agreed to accept up to 2,000 exiled Myanmar students living in a tense border camp in Thailand, Thai officials said yesterday.

National Security Council Secretary-General Kachadpai Burussapat said the move was a precursor to closing the camp by the end of the year.

"The United States has confirmed it will receive between 1,500 and 2,000 Burmese students," the secretary-general told reporters.

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