|ICRC visits Shan State
Amid threats of dire punishment for those who testify against the
military, the International Red Cross delegation is visiting southern
Shan State's Laikha township for the third time, said rebel sources
"(Lt-Col) Moengzuen (Commander of the Shan State Army's 758th
Brigade) has been busy exhorting the local people to divulge everything
without reserve," briefed Sao Yawdloi, adviser to the SSA.
The ICRC is reported to be in Haihseng and Nawngkaw, villages southeast
of Laikha. Laikha is 79 miles northeast of Taunggyi, the state capital.
Inside sources also said Moengzuen and his troops are travelling
in the area with tolajis (farm tractors) in civilian clothes. During
a recent interview, he told S.H.A.N., "I'll risk myself to
the utmost to inform the world about our people and our people about
the world affairs that have bearing on our struggle."
It is not known how the local people will respond to the ICRC's
questions. "Both yourselves and your families will be put to
death with your tongues severed and your throats cut if you reveal
anything," a local Burmese commander had warned them prior
to its second visit. Two village committee members were later beaten
until "both of them were covered with blood from head to toe,"
according to refugees coming to Thailand.
The ICRC that has been working in Burma since 1986 made its first
investigative trip to the Shan State on 4 November 2002 and the
second on 28 January.
"We believe that the mere fact of being present in conflict-affected
areas and repeating our visit to the people there can have a preventive
protection effect," said Michel Ducraux, head of ICRC's Burma
However Red Cross officials have privately acknowledged that so
far impact on the local people's security is still nil.
A handout circulated later (5 May) identified the managing director
as U Sai Shan a.k.a Tar Wai from the Wai Family Electrical Production
and Supplies Co. Ltd. The company also has an office in Rangoon's
28 May ICRC team, 8-persons, led by Jean Christophe Sandoz arrives,
Puts up at Mao Guesthouse.
29 May One 4-men sub team goes to Haihseng. Another, led by New
Zealander Philippa Nicholson goes to the township hospital.
30 May Goes to Haihseng, Wan Hsarng and Marklarng. They are only
"Col Moengzuen is mistaken in thinking that whatever ICRC
knows will be made public", commented a Shan woman activist.
"The ICRC does not work that way."
For further information, see 'Be Quiet', Freedom News, 5 June http:/www.shanworld.com.