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Burma-Karen : Senior junta official

Subject: Burma-Karen : Senior junta official visits captured Karen    bases 

Burma-Karen : Senior junta official visits captured Karen

                            RANGOON, April 4 (AFP) - Lieutenant General Tin
Oo, chief of staff
                            of the Burmese army, has visited captured bases
of the rebel
                            Karen National Union (KNU) in southern Burma,
the official press
                            reported Friday.

                            The New Light of Myanmar pictured Tin Oo, who is
also second
                            secretary of Burma's ruling junta, inspecting
captured weapons at
                            the headquarters of the KNU's Fourth Brigade at

                            Accompanied by an entourage of government
ministers and
                            officials, he took a helicopter trip to three
Karen bases in
                            Tenasserim division.

                            "Only when there is peace and tranquility in
border areas, will
                            regional development tasks be carried out
effectively," the New
                            Light quoted him as saying.

                            Forces of the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC), as
                            the ruling junta is officially known, have swept
through KNU
                            enclaves close to the Thai border in a massive
offensive that
                            began in early February.

                            The KNU, which has been fighting rule from
Rangoon for almost
                            50 years, is the only major ethnic insurgency
yet to reach a
                            ceasefire with the junta.

                            Some 15 other insurgencies have reached accords
with the
                            SLORC through a combination of military pressure
and promises
                            of development assistance.

                            The KNU group has lost its fixed bases in the
current offensive
                            and an estimated 20,000 Karen civilians have
fled to Thailand but
                            the rebel's leadership is determined to continue

                            Since the offensive began, other key SLORC
figures including its
                            chairman Senior General Than Shwe, and the army
chief General
                            Maung Aye have paid visits to captured KNU areas.

                            The New Light report said that Tin Oo met with
troops of SLORC's
                            regional battalions and their families, and
local representatives of
                            the junta's mass organisation, the Union
Solidarity Development
                            Association and other groups.