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Burmese students battle soldiers

Burmese students battle soldiers
Bangkok, April 18: Burmese soldiers have attacked rebel
students near the border of Thailand, members of the
student group said on Friday. "The troops of the State
Law and Order Restoration Council have begun an
offensive against an ABSDF camp on the Burma side of
the border opposite Thailand's Thap Sakae in Prachuab
Kirikhan province," said a statement by the All Burma
Student's Thap Sakae in Prachuab Kirikhan province."
said a statement by the All Burma Students' Democratic
Front, Prachuab Kirikhan is about 180 km south-west of
Bangkok. But a military official in Rangoon said he had
not heard of any offensive being launched and that he
did not think the ABSDF had any camps inside Burma,
General secretary of the ABSDF Aung Thu Nyein, told
Reuter the camp housed about 150 people, most of them
armed fighters. Some family members and residents of a
neighbouring village had fled to Thailand to escape the
fighting. According to him nine SLORC soldiers had been
killed and six injured, but said the ABSDF had suffered
no casualties. "Well, they must be supermen them," said
the Burmese official. "This shows it must be a
fabrication. Even of there were skirmishes there would
be casualties on both sides," The ABSDF is an umbrella
organization that was founded on the border in 1988 by
groups of students who fled the military's bloody
suppression of nationwide pro-democracy demonstrations
in September that year. Disease and fighting have
depleted the ranks of the student groups over the past
nine years, but they and other rebel groups have
continued a low-level guerrilla war against the SLORC.
Meanwhile, Muslim communities in Burma quietly marked a
delayed Bakhri Id festival on Friday with prayers and
other activities centered around their mosques. After
violence last month, which saw Buddhist monks attacking
mosques, Muslim leaders ordered the festival postponed
by one day so as not to coincide with the New Year
celebrations of Burma's Buddhist majority. The ritual
slaughter of livestock for the festival was cancelled,
and the money that would have been used for livestock
purchases was to be donated to the poor, Muslim sources
said. On Thursday, top junta leaders joined the
Buddhist faithful at pagodas to make merit by releasing
fish and other animals from captivity. Reuter, AFP