Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Karen Moengzuen in the making: key Shan dissident

A Karen Moengzuen in the making: key Shan dissident

News - S.H.A.N.

Tuesday, 01 August 2006

Reacting to the recent announcement by two Karen commanders of their decision to act independently from the Karen National Union's leadership, a noted Shan dissident told S.H.A.N. yesterday that he saw a situation developing among the Karens which was similar to that of the Shans culminating in the surrender of one of its former commanders on July 16.

"For years (Lt-Col) Moengzuen (of the 758th Brigade) had proposed we form a government and declare independence," the dissident told S.H.A.N. saying he is a friend of Col Nerdah Mya, Tactical Commander of the Karen National Liberation Army's General Headquarters Battalions and one of the signatories to the announcement on July 30.

"Loi Taileng [headquarters of SSA-S] had not agreed but nevertheless invited him to present his case at the General Meeting, to which he refused citing his ongoing commitments. Since then, he had been something of a lone wolf although nominally under central command.

"In 2004, Moengzuen held a "People's Conference" in his domain that took the decision to form an Interim Shan Government (ISG) and declare Independence.The ISG, under the titular leadership of Sao Surkhanfah, son of Sao Shwe Thaike, Prince of Yawnghwe and President of the Union of Burma (1948-52), came into being on March 25, 2005.

On April 17, 2005, recommended as an auspicious day by an astrological counsel, Independence was declared. A week later, Moengzuen pledged his allegiance to the ISG. However, 15 months later harassed by the Burma Army units, including a 10-battalion Military Operations Command (MOC) No. 5 from Arakan State, he "returned to the legal fold" without informing the ISG.

"I fear the same outcome is in store for these Karen commanders," he said, "if common sense does not prevail, regardless of their promise to adhere to the late Saw Ba U Gyi's principles."One of Saw Ba U Gyi's four cardinal principles is "Never to surrender our arms." Moengzuen had also assured S.H.A.N. in February, " I was trained to fight, not to surrender."

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