Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 07:39:45 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: BurmaNet News: February 15, 1995
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Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 07:39:41 -0800
KNU leader seized in Thailand by defectors
The BurmaNet News, Issue 108
13 February 1995
A key Karen guerrilla leader was kidnapped on Thursday night by a
group of eight armed Karen Buddhist defectors who
illegally crossed the Moei River into a refugee camp in
Thailand's Tha song Yang district of Tak.
Leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU) in separate
interviews yesterday said they did not yet know the
whereabouts of Padoh Mahn Yin Sein, but believe he must have
taken to Myaingnyingu Temple in Burma where the KNU Buddhist
defectors have set up a headquarters.
Thai authorities in Bangkok and Mae Sot said yesterday they were
unable to take any action to prevent the kidnapping as they not
promptly alerted of the incident which accrued late in night.
A senior officer of Tak Force 34 in Mae sot said that his
office will soon send a verbal message to Burmese authorities in
Myawaddy to protest territorial transgression and the
kidnapping of Mahn Yin Sein, a KNU administrative governor of
Pa-an District, from the refugee camp at Baan Bae Kraw, about 60
km north of Mae Sot.
KNU leader said they believe the defectors, who formed a rival
group called the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Organisation (DKBO) in
late December, would try to coerce Mahn Yin Sein, the top
Buddhist in the KNU, to talk the leadership of the new group.
They said the 55-year-old hostage "is a very nice and gentle men
who commands wide respect from both KNU Buddhist members and
local villagers" and that the DKBO "will probably force him to
become their leader."
In December and January the defectors kidnapped three other
senior KNU Buddhist leaders including Mahn Yin Sein's deputy Ya
Yu who is the first vice governor of Pa-an and Ban Yuang, a
financial officer of the KNU's 7th Brigade, and forces them to
enter the monkhood. The three leaders had gone to Myaingnyingu
Temple in an attempt to resolve religious conflicts between KNU
Buddhist and Christian members but were taken hostage and have
not yet been released, according to a KNU officer.
The DKBO, currently led by U Thuzana, a Karen Buddhist monk who
follows a strict discipline and a vegetarian diet, has tried to
recruit KNU Buddhist members, forces and villagers, accusing the
Christian-led KNU leadership of discrimination against the
promotion of Buddhist members and the practice of Buddhist
The junta, known as the Slorc, has been supporting the DKBO'a
military wing, the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA), and
used them in the military offensive to capture the KNU
headquarters of Manerplaw.
A Karen witness of Thursday's kidnapping told The Nation
yesterday that a total of four person including Mahn Yin Sein
were kidnapped from the Pa-an governor's house in Baan Bae Kraw
by a group of eight DKBA forces armed with AK-47 rifles, an M-79
rocket launches and hand grenades. The kidnappers also captured
two Karen villagers familiar with the locality to guide them to
the governor's residence.
The other hostages captured at the residence are Sim Bo, the
governor's nephew, Sai Jed, a KNU judge, and Maung Aye, second
vice governor of Pa-an and son-in-law of Mahn Yin Sein.
Maung Aye was forced to drive the governor's Mazda pick-up, but
managed to escape his captors with only minor injuries after
driving the vehicle into a tree on the Mae Sot-Tha Song yang
highway. However, his father-in-law and the two other hostages
were later taken across the Moei River into the
Burmese army camp at Moe Pa Zu, opposite Tak's Mae Ramat
district and about 15 km south of Baan Bae Kraw.
A witness said the incident took place about 10 pm on Thursday
when the governor's family was watching TV and Mahn Yin Sein
himself was listening to the radio.
The kidnappers, according to the witness, told the governor that
the DKBO leader and the monk U Thuzana "had told them to come and
bring Mahn Yin Sein" back to Myaingnyingu Temple. "He (the
governor) knew two of the DKBA kidnappers very well as they uesd
to work for him," said the witness. The two
kidnappers were identified as Maung Soe and Maung Tu.
The witness said he believes the Burmese junta and the DKBA will
not harm the governor and will try use him to campaign for
support of the DKBO, especially in Pa-an district where the
majority of the Karen population is Buddhist.