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Burma-unrest,2ndlead : Burma disrob
- Subject: Burma-unrest,2ndlead : Burma disrob
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 02 Apr 1997 19:24:00
Subject: Burma-unrest,2ndlead : Burma disrobes monks, detains NLD members in wake of unrest
Burma-unrest,2ndlead : Burma disrobes monks,
detains NLD members in wake of unrest
(ADDS background, name of elected NLD candidate
RANGOON, April 1 (AFP) - Burmese authorities
monks and detained 10 members of Aung San Suu
League for Democracy (NLD) in the wake of
communal unrest in
Mandalay, a resident of the city said Tuesday.
Buddhist monks in the central Burmese city have
mosques and other Moslem properties since
broke out there in the middle of last month, the
resident told AFP
during a visit to Rangoon.
The NLD members detained included nine
organizers and Htin
Gyaw, who was elected representative of east
nationwide elections which swept the party in
1990 into a
parliament never convened by the military
Burmese and NLD officials could not immediately
be reached for
A dusk-to-dawn curfew remained in effect in
Mandalay, where the
attacks on mosques and Moslem property began
more than two
weeks ago in apparent retribution for an alleged
sexual assault on
a Buddhist girl.
The junta has blamed the unrest on unnamed
seeking to destabilise the country and sabotage
its likely entry into
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) later this year.
ASEAN groups three predominantly Islamic
countries -- Brunei,
Indonesia and Malaysia -- with the Philippines,
Analysts and opposition sources inside and
outside the country
have said the attacks may be an expression by
discontent with the ruling military.
Burmese authorities were reported to have
quashed attempts by
younger monks in Mandalay prior to the outbreak
of unrest to
arrange demonstrations protesting the death of
16 of their number
in prison camps.
The military has also been accused of damaging
the buddha at the
city's Payagyi Pagoda, searching for a legendary
supposedly brings victory in war to its possessor.
The pagoda and the city's central market were
the initial attacks, but have since been
examinations scheduled for this week in Mandalay
and in the
capital have been cancelled.
The unrest spread from Mandalay first to
Rangoon, then to several
There was a report of fresh unrest in Sittwe in
the Arakan state
bordering Bangladesh, but this could not be
confirmed. With a
high Moslem population, the state has
historically been a hotbed
of religious tension.
Arakan was also one of the areas in which
opposition groups have
accused the military government of excavating
historic pagodas to
loot valuables, ancient Buddha images and relics
in the guise of
Sittwe, Mandalay and Rangoon are three of the
reportedly put under a first degree security
alert by authorities to
prevent the troubles spreading further.
Security remained high around mosques and some
monasteries in Rangoon, although the situation
has calmed from
the previous week, residents said.
Moslems were on guard inside mosques in downtown
and government security forces remained posted
mosques and monasteries, but no further attacks
reported as of late Tuesday.
Residents in Rangoon said Buddhist monks who
have been made scapegoats for the troubles
There were suspicions that people outside the
been donning robes and provoking the unrest.
Security is stiffest around monasteries in close
mosques. Some monasteries are preventing young
leaving at night, they said.
The Burmese government has cancelled its monthly
briefing for foreign journalists "due to