From: E. Phillip Lim <webxity@CYBERWAY.COM.SG>
To: SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
Subject: MM + TH: Is the news media making too much of Karen twins, Johnny and Luther?
Date: Friday, April 28, 2000 2:51 AM
God's Army short of food and losing support
The Straits Times Interactive
11 April 2000
SUAN PHUM (Thailand) -- On the run and short of
food, God's Army has split into three small
groups, two of which are led by the twins and the
third by another 12-year-old.
The twins now talk to each other only by hand-held
radio and are said to command fewer than 200
fighters, including child soldiers.
The leader of the third group is another 12-year-
old called Chopa Thupli, or King of the Black
This boy, a guerilla said, is actually 200-years
old, a Thai king who once fought against the
Burmese and decided to return as a Karen so that
he could keep on fighting them.
His divinity is believed to be shown by the black
colouring on his tongue. Some people believe the
black colouring is a sign of magical powers.
The guerilla said the twins did not have black
tongues, as others have reported.
But, he added, the twins were reincarnations of
Luther and his brother, Johnny, became the objects
of widespread curiosity abroad when 10 gunmen,
then believed to be members of God's Army, were
shot dead after taking hostage more than 800
patients and staff at a hospital in the town of
They also became the targets of a stepped-up hunt
by the Myanmar military and found themselves
barred from their potential sanctuary in Thailand.
They also lost the support of other Karen rebels
who are now under increased pressure on both sides
of the border as a result of the disastrous raid.
The Karens have been fighting a separatist
insurgency since Myanmar became independent of
British colonial rule a half-century ago. Most
other ethnic groups have reached an accommodation
with the government in the last decade, but some
Karens have continued to fight. -- New York Times
Copyright © 2000 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All