The Burmese (SLORC) troops normally use Thai soil when they attack the KNU or the Mons or the Karanni. I had a bitter experience in 1989 when the Kawmoora camp was attacked by the Burmese troops. At the time I was acting as the chairman of the All Burma Students' democratic front and visited the Kawmoora to encourage the students who were fighting along with the KNU , Arakanese, Kachins and Pao troops against the SLORC intruding offensive.
We intercepted the enemy tranmission line and found out that about 300 Burmese troops were crossing the Moei river to the Thai side and planned to attack from the front line and from the Thai side. As a counter measure the KNU commondos and the Students crossed the river and guarded the Thai side to prevent this two pronged attack. Unfortunately, the Thai border guards arrived and told us that we have no right to use Thai soil, if KNU or SLORC troops cross the border they will fight both troops. They promised us if SLORC used their soil they would not hesitate to force them out of Thailand, initially using an air attack to bomb the intruders. We went back to our Kawmoora base, hoping that the Thai would keep their promise. But at dawn our camp was attacked from both the front line and the Thai side. The enemy were taking a position from the Thai market opposite from Kawmoora. We were waiting for the Thai army to attack the SLORC but in reality The Thai army retreated two kilometers away and watched. One Thai army plane circled around our camp but there was no air attack as they had promised us. The KNU sent the best commandos without hesitation and attacked the SLORC troops who were stationed in the Thai market place. Luckily we won the battle, killing 70 enemy soldiers while on our side we lost our 3 best commandos.
The Colonel who lead the Burmese troops fled to the Thai Army and begged for help. He was later escorted by the Thai Army back to Myawaddy.
My main concern about this accident is the fact that the Thai Army allowed the Burmese Army to attack us. I believe that the Thai Army had a vested interest in allowing this attack to occur. The Thai General Chavalit Younchaiyu made a deal with the Burmese General Saw Maung providing General Chavalit Younchaiyu with Burmese logging rights. When the conflict occurred it was in General Chavilit's best interests to allow the Burmese Army to attack without interference from the Thai military. General Chavalit resigned his position in the military and is currently the Interior Minister for the Thai government. In this new position he has gained wealth and prestige due to the logging and fishing rights he acquired in Burma; as a result he continues to favor the SLORC.
I am worried that the KNU leaders, including General Bo Mya, are under the Thai Army's control and that the KNU are not allowed to go anywhere without the Thai Army's permission. I would like the international community to pressure Thailand into not supporting the SLORC.
Additionally I would like Thailand to allow the KNU leaders and the ABSDF students to have entrance into Burma from whatever border area that these two groups choose. Lastly, I believe that the Thai government should allow the NGO's to help the refugees who have fled from the fighting without any interference or disturbances.
Htun Aung Gyaw
Graduate student of Asian Studies, Cornell University