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KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead
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    KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    A top leader of the Karen National Union (KNU), Pado Manh Sha, 65, was assassinated in his home in Mae Sot district, police in Tak province said yesterday.

    Pado Manh Sha was the KNU secretary-general and an outspoken critic of Burma's military government.

    Colonel Passawat Teangjui said the man was killed yesterday afternoon at his home by three gunmen believed to be ethnic Karen.

    "His relatives who witnessed the killing said the first man went up to greet Pado Manh Sha while he was resting, but then shot him once. A second man came up and shot him again," Passawat said.

    Agence France-Presse quoted Win Min, a Thailand-based Burma analyst, describing the death as a major loss for the KNU.

    "He is one of the top leaders for the group. He is an articulate strategist and a unifying figure for the KNU," Win Min said.

    KNU is one of the last remaining rebel armies. It has refused to put down its arms, although the group has entered into off-and-on negotiations with the Rangoon government over the years.

    KNU suffered a setback in 1994 when a major Buddhist faction broke off and allied itself with Rangoon, and later set up the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). Combined forces of DKBA and Burmese government troops delivered another blow to the KNU in 1995 when they forced the rebel group to flee their Manerplaw headquarters.

    DKBA is largely seen as a Rangoon proxy and has often engaged in battles with Thai soldiers along the border.

    KNU and Rangoon entered into another round of peace talks in 2004 at the insistence of the Thai government, but the ceasefire did not last very long.

    Aung Naing Oo, an exiled Burmese analyst was quoted saying one of the biggest concerns along the border now was that more assassinations might follow.

    Throughout his career as a rebel commander, Manh Sha worked closely with the late General Bo Mya, who died in December 2006 from natural causes.

    Until his death, Bo Mya dominated much of KNU politics and its military campaign. After 24 years leading the KNU, Bo Mya decided to step down to end an internal rift. Another ageing leader, Ba Thin Sein, 81, replaced him in 2000.

    The Nation

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    Re: KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    Killing the dream

    The assassination of a senior Karen rebel leader on the Burma border has dealt a severe blow not only to the insurgency but also to Burma's entire pro-democracy movement, observers said Friday.

    Karen National Union (KNU) general secretary Mahn Sha was gunned down in his home in Mae Sot, Thailand, Thursday afternoon by unknown assailants.

    "A black-coloured vehicle parked in front of his house at about 4:00 pm and one man came out with a bouquet of flowers," said Blooming Night Zan, secretary for the Karen Women's Organization.

    "He greeted Mahn Sha in Karen, saying 'Good evening uncle,' and then shot him," Zan told Deutsche Presse Agentur dpa from Mae Sot, 380 kilometres north of Bangkok.

    A second assassin from the car, which had a Thai licence plate, then shot Mahn Sha twice in the body, leaving him dead.

    Thai police found the car parked near the Moei River, which defines the Thai-Burma border, but have yet to identify the assailants.

    Karen sources suspect the gunmen were members of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a Karen splinter group that broke with the KNU in 1995 and is now allied with the Burma army.

    The slaying of Mahn Sha was seen as a great blow for the KNU, an insurgency that has been fighting for the autonomy of the Karen State for the past six decades, and for Burma's pro-democracy movement.

    "For the Burmese audience Mahn Sha was the second most popular Karen leader after Bo Mya," said Win Min, a Thailand-based Burma scholar.

    "His death is a loss for the Burmese pro-democracy movement as a whole, since Mahn Sha was one of the few Karen leaders who was accepted by the various groups within the movement, especially those acting in exile," said Win Min.

    But more specifically, his murder was another blow for the KNU.

    Bo Mya, the military leader of the Karen National Liberation Army, died in December 24, 2006, from illness. His demise was a major blow for the insurgency and a source of further splits within the remaining forces.

    In February 2007, the KNU's 7th Brigade split off from the main force and entered into peace negotiations with Burma's junta.

    The 7th Brigade is one faction of the more active forces within the KNU, which has been waging a guerrilla struggle against the central government for the independence of the Karen State since 1949.

    There are an estimated 4,000 KNU troops still in the field against the junta.

    The KNU is one of the last ethnic minority insurgencies that have refused to enter into a peace agreements with the ruling junta, which has monopolized political power in the country since 1962.

    Mahn Sha's murder has at least highlighted the plight of the Karen, whose struggle has often been overlooked by the international community, Win Min noted.

    In Washington DC, US Congressman Joe Pitts, in a statement on Mahn Sha's death, said the assassination should draw world attention to the ongoing persecution of the Karen and other ethnic minorities by the Burma regime.

    "For too long, the plight of the people of Burma has either been ignored or discussed ad nauseam with little or no action on behalf of the people," said Pitts.

    "With over 1.5 million internally displaced persons and refugees as a result of the brutal attacks by the dictatorship's army, it is time for change. The international community must ensure that what happened to Mahn Sha does not happen to any other ethnic, democracy, or religious leader in Burma," he added.

    Burma's junta has been carrying out a large-scale offensive against the KNU for the past two years, forcing about 30,000 Karens to flee their homes and seek shelter in camps for "displaced persons" along the Thai border, while thousands of others continue to lead a precarious existence in their homeland. dpa

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    US Congressman accuses Burma of committing "genocide"

    US Congressman Trent Franks, the co-chair for the Congressional Human Rights Caucus Taks Force on International Religious Freedom, expresses condolences over the death of Karen rebel leader Pado Mahn Sha, and urged the world to hold the Burmese junta for their attacks against civilians.

    "It is time the world hold the Burmese military regime accountable for decades of genocide against the ethnic and religious minorities of Burma. They are all God's children and deserve the dignity to live as such, in freedom and without fear. I call on the international community to act in solidarity to end the suffering of these people and support the democracy movement of which Mahn Sha was a critical part." Franks said in a statement sent from his office on Friday.

    Franks described Mahn Sha as a "visionary Karen leader" and that his death was "a great loss for the Karen people and the movement for democracy in Burma." Mahn Sha was a strong supporter of pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi who has been placed under house arrest for most part of the past two decades.

    "Mahn Sha gave his life to protect the Karen from the incomprehensible genocide committed against them by the Burmese military regime. My heart goes out to his family and the people of Burma who have lost a courageous leader."

    Franks said attacks by Burmese government troops against civilians were a clear violation of international humanitarian law.

    According to information Mahn Sha provided before his death, in 2007 alone, the Karen suffered 2,000 attacks on civilians, 20,000 people were forced to flee their villages, 3,000 Karen became refugees and there were about 110 deaths, the statement said.

    The Nation

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    Re: KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead


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    Re: KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    Karen leader's death needs digging into
    By TADA PATTANASAJJA


    The cold-blooded assassination of a Karen leader on Valentine's Day in downtown Mae Sot is a shocking event that needs investigating in-depth. All possible factors linked to the murder of 64-year-old Padoh Mahn Sha, one of the top leaders of the Karen National Union (KNU), must be thoroughly explored. Padoh Mahn Sha was a key decision-maker of the KNU. His commitment to restoring democracy and Karen autonomy had gained him wide acceptance among the Karen people, ethnic and Burmese pro-democracy leaders, and the international media. He had been expected to become the new KNU chairman after an election in November next year.

    So far only some of the issues possibly linked to Padoh Mahn Sha's death have come to light.

    First, internal conflicts among Karen groups have been a major issue reported in the news. Many news agencies reported that the assassination was carried out as an act of revenge by the KNU/KNLA Peace Council, an armed splinter group led by General Htain Maung, the former 7th Brigade commander who left KNU in January 2007.

    Later the group's leader, Saw Ler Moo, the son-in-law of Gen Htain Maung was killed.

    Second, it is also believed the killing was driven by the Burmese junta's policy to eradicate ethnic pro-democracy groups.

    KNU is among the few remaining active armed groups fighting against the junta.

    One factor that has received less attention is local business conflicts. There are a number of investments in KNU-controlled areas including logging and mining. A Karen environmentalist said that in a meeting on KNU forestry policy last month, Padoh Mahn Sha expressed concern over the fact that Thai companies were pressuring him for logging concessions.

    Moreover, the Myawadee-Paan highway in Karen State to the Thai border at Mae Sot, which passes through five kilometres of KNU territory, still has not received approval from the KNU.

    Then there is the conflict over the 1,200-megawatt Hut Gyi Dam on the Salween River in Karen State. This is a one-billion-dollar joint venture of Egat (Thailand's electricity monopoly), the Burmese junta (the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC), and a Chinese company.

    Padoh Mahn Sha had long been challenging the project. In February 2006, the KNU released this statement: ''The Hut Gyi Dam is an appalling and deplorable matter which seriously threatens and endangers freedom and security of the Karen people... In the interest of local communities and in view of the political situation of the whole country, the KNU earnestly call upon the countries providing external aid, to suspend implementation of the project.''

    Access to the construction site of the Hut Gyi Dam for the Thai dam-builders has been problematic. In order to travel along the Salween to the dam site in Karen State from the Thai border at Baan Sob Moei in Mae Hong Son, the Thai survey team needs to pass a KNU checkpoint, which has been refusing them entry.

    The dam site itself, however, is an area controlled by the pro-junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and the SPDC.

    During the project study period, the Thai survey team travelled to the dam site through the Mae Sot-Myawadee border pass or via Rangoon, which was time-consuming and not feasible for actual dam construction.

    For the past two years, the Thai dam-building authority has been approaching the KNU leaders to obtain permission for the dam. The Thai authority organised a secret meeting with the KNU executive committee in August 2007 in Mae Sot for this purpose. Again, Padoh Mahn Sha refused to give approval to the dam plans.

    In September 2007, a blast at the Hut Gyi dam construction workers' camp killed one Thai worker and led to the evacuation of the other 42 workers to Thailand. The Burmese junta accused the KNU of being responsible. Padoh Mahn Sha promptly refuted this in an interview with Reuters: ''How could we do it when it is an area tightly secured by Myanmar troops? They want the Thais to hate us.''

    The incident led to more intense pressure on KNU leaders, especially Padoh Mahn Sha.

    A source close to the victim said that in the two weeks prior to his assassination, Thai officers repeatedly visited him to gain the green light for the dam. However, their attempts failed.

    Interestingly, Thailand's Power Development Plan (PDP 2007 revision 1), released in January 2008, includes for the first time two dams on the Salween _ the Tasang dam in Shan Sate and the Hut Gyi Dam _ to supply electricity to Thailand in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Thus, it is clearly expected that construction of the Hut Gyi dam will start shortly.

    Tada Pattanasajja is an independent researcher based in Chiang Mai.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: KNU chief Pado Manh Sha shot dead

    interesting.....

    im doing research on east asia politics,
    this sounds really interesting.
    wow.

    thanks for the news.
    thanks.
    If You Can't Say "I'LL DIE IF I DON'T DO IT" Then You Shouldn't Do It.....

    THAI ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW.

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