Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 13:02 GMT

Chronology for Shans in Burma

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Shans in Burma, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38721e.html [accessed 28 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
May 1990 In the general elections held on May 27, the first multi-party election in three decades, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the largest minority party, based in the eastern state of Shan, won second place with 23 seats in the 485-seat parliament. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory with 396 seats.
Jun 1990 Heroin warlord Khun Sa's operation produces about 2,200 tones of opium a year, most of which is smuggled into the US via Thailand (Reuters 06/03/90). The US says almost half the heroin flooding its cities originates from the poppy fields on the mountains where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet, forming the Golden Triangle. Khun Sa portrays himself as the head of the Shan independence movement and says his involvement in the heroin trade is a means to support their struggle. His group often battles with the rival Wa army over control of the smuggling routes. Khun Sa became one of the most wanted men when a US court indicted him in early 1990 for heroin trafficking. Narcotics officials estimate that Khun Sa's private army, the 8,000-strong Mong Tai Army (Shan State Army), is kept to protect his lucrative heroin manufacturing and trading business.
May 1991 The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) has legalized some former insurgent groups including the Shan State Army (SSA), led by U Say Htin and the National Democracy Alliance Army - Military and Local Administration Committee, Eastern Shan State -NDAA - led by U Sai Lin.
Jun 1992 Burma's military rulers assured opposition political leaders at a meeting of the Constitution Coordination Committee that they would be able to discuss issues freely during the proposed convention (AFP, 06/23/92). The brief meeting was the first dialogue in two years between the generals and the politicians since the ruling junta began a crackdown on the opposition. The 28 political leaders in attendance included 15 NLD members, 6 from the SNLD and 1 from the Shan State Kokang Democratic Party (SSKDP). The meeting discussed who should attend the national convention to draw up Myanmar's first constitution in four years. Khun Tun Oo, Chairman of the SNLD included in his suggested list all leaders of the 10 legal parties and about 115 representatives of 8 major racial groups.
Oct 1992 Diplomats in Rangoon state that the military junta has given 9 dissidents long jail terms for producing anti-government leaflets and is moving to strip more than 100 more opposition politicians of their parliamentary seats (Reuters, 14/10/94). Most of the latest group of threatened MPs belong to parties associated with the NLD, including 10 members of the SNLD. Since the election, 13 opposition members including one from the SNLD have died, one of them while in custody.
Dec 1992 The visiting UN human rights investigator, Prof. Yozo Yokota, met leaders of the two main political parties in Myanmar -- the Chairman and General Secretary of the NLD and the SNLD.
Mar 1993 The constitutional framework presented at the convention by the General Secretary of the SNLD contains a firm commitment to the non-disintegration of the Union: "Since our SNLD believed that the new state can only be a union and nothing else, the heading of Chapter 1 is presented as the Structure of the Union", the report of the SNLD stated (BBC, 03/04/93).
Jun 1993 Shan insurgents ambushed a passenger truck in eastern Burma, killing 11 people and wounding 5 others, state-run Radio Rangoon reported (AFP, 06/29/93). According to reports, the guerrillas belonged to the Shan United Revolutionary Army, but the motive for the attack was not known.
Jul 1993 A guerrilla source says that the combined forces of Burmese opium warlord Khun Sa and a faction of the SSA have killed more than 90 government troops and wounded scores in heavy fighting in the last two weeks (Reuters, 07/16/93). The two sides have been engaged in heavy fighting in the center of Burma's eastern Shan State, as a breakaway faction of the SSA continues to resist Rangoon's rule. The guerrillas state that the current fighting is aimed at resisting government efforts to allocate Shan State land to another ethnic minority, the Wa. But Thai intelligence sources assert the real motive might be to expand the warlord's territory in eastern Burma (Reuters, 07/16/93).
Aug 1993 Nearly 700 delegates representing eight categories of people who have been meeting since January have broadly agreed on a multi-party democratic system. The eight categories represented are: political parties, elected MPs, ethnic groups, workers, peasants, government employees, technocrats and special invitees. The SNLD leader called for the establishment of a representative, parliamentary democracy, headed by an executive prime minister, as opposed to a presidential system based on direct franchise (BBC, 08/12/93). However, most representatives favored the introduction of a system of executive presidency. On the question of military participation in the legislature and the country's administration, the six so-called non-political groups expressed their approval. But representatives from parties and those elected in 1990 were silent in this regard. The SNLD is reported to have rejected outright the military's demand for a power-sharing and leading role in country's affairs. In this regard, the SNLD stood out, compared to the NLD's "tread-softly" stance (AFP, 08/10/93).
Dec 1993 On December 13, opium warlord Khun Sa declared an independent state for Burma's Shan minority, with himself as President. He has also written to US President Clinton asking for help to eradicate drugs. Khun Sa's Shan State Restoration Council on the Thai-Burma border set up a parliament to govern the new state before the New Year celebrations, to which reporters and exiled Shans were invited. But senior Shan rebels criticized Khun Sa's action, saying an indicted drug trafficker had no right to lead the Shan minority (Reuters, 12/14/93). According to a Thai TV report, heavy fighting broke out between Burmese troops and Khun Sa's forces along the northeastern Thai-Burma border. The report said about 100 troops and 25 rebels were killed in the fighting (BBC, 12/17/93).
Jul 1994 More than 400 fighters have been reported killed in recent battles between the Burmese military and Khun Sa's forces. (AP Worldstorm, 07/18/95). Since May of this year, the government has launched major offensives against the group.
Nov 1994 Thai border police have seized two SAM-7 ground-to-air missiles destined for Khun Sa's army and arrested two Thai nationals after a gun battle. The missiles, each costing $24,000, reportedly came from Cambodia. (AFP, 11/11/95).
Dec 1994 9 people were arrested and almost 125 kg of heroin seized 65 miles southwest of Bangkok, in what Thai police said was the biggest such seizure this year. Police from the Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau, working with agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), arrested the drug traffickers, believed to be close aides of Khun Sa.
Feb 1995 Six government soldiers have been captured following a clash with guerrillas loyal to drug lord Khun Sa. A week earlier, members of the MTA sank a Burmese army boat killing around ten soldiers (Reuters, 02/07/95).
Mar 1995 Members of the Mong Tai Army attacked Burmese soldiers in Tachilek township, near the Thai-Burmese border. At least three MTA guerrillas and more than 10 government soldiers were killed. The fighting led more than 1000 residents to flee to Thailand. More than 200 of these refugees, mostly Shans, were returned to Burma by Thai authorities a few days later. The MTA's action was apparently in response to a recent government attack on a Shan village that claimed the lives of scores of civilians. More than 20 MTA members and over 70 government troops have been killed since the government began another offensive against the Shan (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 03/23/95). Meanwhile, the chairman of the Shan State National Congress, Zao Gan Gede, says his organization is ready to hold talks with the SLORC. He suggested that Thailand, Laos, and China also participate in the peace talks (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 03/23/95).
Apr 1995 Over 50 guerrillas of the Mong Tai Army raided a sawmill in northern Burma. Nine Burmese civilians were killed while eight others were injured (Reuters, 04/26/95).
Apr 28, 1995 Fighting between Khun Sa's MTA and government forces has led more than 1200 people to flee from northeastern Myanmar into Thailand. Most of the people are members of ethnic minorities (New York Times, 04/28/95).
Jun 1995 An MTA source says a surprise attack by the United Wa State Army (UWSA) on an MTA base near the Thai border has resulted in the deaths of at least six of their fighters. The MTA and the UWSA are both involved in Burma's burgeoning drug trade. They signed a truce several years ago following regular battles over routes for opium caravans. The Wa were the first ethnic group to sign a ceasefire agreement with the SLORC in 1989 (Reuters, 06/23/95).
Jul 1995 Around 2000 MTA soldiers of Tai Yai origin have broken ties with Khun Sa. The soldiers were reportedly upset over the drug warlord's alleged favoritism toward personnel of Haw origin who control most key army positions (Bangkok Post, 07/21/95).
Aug 1995 An estimated 1000 Burmese troops and members of the United Wa State Army have been attacking MTA strongholds near the Thai border since July 19. No information was available on any casualties (Reuters, 08/13/95). During the past couple of months, Burma has closed numerous checkpoints at the Thailand border. The major crossings at Myawaddy and Tachilek on the Burmese side were closed after the military junta accused Thailand of colluding with Khun Sa and allowing his troops to use Thai territory to stage raids against Burma (United Press International, 08/16/95).
Sep 1995 Reports indicate that Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army has lost over 25% of its troops in the past few months and now consists of around 6000 fighters. Some of these guerrillas have defected to the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). About 500 soldiers under the command of Major Karnyord have formed their own insurgent organization, the Shan State National Army (SSNA). The SSNA's ranks are now believed to be close to 2000. Those who left were reportedly concerned that Sa's drug trafficking was taking precedence over Shan nationalist aspirations (Asiaweek, 09/01/95).
Sep 21, 1995 The Shan State Restoration Council and its military arm, the MTA, have asked the United Nations to oversee the eradication of opium production in northeast Burma. The action follows the formation of a new 12-member Central Executive Committee. The committee was established after intense infighting led Khun Sa to step down. The new council favors full autonomy for the Shan peoples under a united central government (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 09/21/95).
Oct 1995 The UN Development Programme has agreed to set up a crop substitution project to reduce opium production in Shan State (Reuter Textline: Bangkok Post, 10/11/95).
Dec 1995 The Burmese government and Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army have signed a ceasefire agreement. According to the All Burma Students Democratic Front, the MTA will now operate as a regional defense force under the Burmese government. It is believed that breakaway Shan groups will also return to the legal fold (Japan Economic Newswire, 01/03/96; Agence France Presse, 01/03/96).
Jan 3, 1996 Myanmar government forces have taken over opium warlord Khun Sa's stronghold in eastern Shan state, about 30 kilometers from the Thai border. The troops met no resistance when they entered the town of Ho Mong. However, the whereabouts of Khun Sa were unknown, leading to speculation on a possible deal between him and the Myanmar authorities, in which he might have agreed to surrender in exchange for an amnesty (Xinhua News Agency, 01/03/96).
Jan 4, 1996 US officials state that the amnesty agreement between Khun Sa and the Burmese military could offer official government protection for his drug operations. In recent years, as much as 60% of the American heroin market has been supplied from Myanmar (Economist, 01/06/96; United Press International 01/04/96).
Jan 5, 1996 Burmese forces are withdrawing from areas recently held by the Mong Tai Army (MTA) of reputed drug lord Khun Sa but which have also been claimed by Thailand. Thai and Burmese border officials are meeting to try to resolve the issue of the disputed territory along their poorly defined frontier. Some 800 Thai troops positioned along the border over the past few days remain in place. Burma and Thailand do not have an existing border agreement to cover such disputes (Agence France Presse, 01/05/96).
Jan 8, 1996 Burma's reputed opium warlord Khun Sa remains free at his base in eastern Burma after his Shan group concluded a ceasefire agreement with Rangoon in December of last year (Agence France Presse, 01/08/96).
Jan 9, 1996 Thailand is concerned that drug production in Burma could increase following the ceasefire agreement between accused opium warlord Khun Sa and the Burmese government. Thai authorities are worried that offshoots of the Shan ethnic group not party to the ceasefire agreement could take over drug production in eastern Burma (Agence France Presse, 01/09/96).
Jan 10, 1996 US officials reject Burmese claims that the United States jumped in late in the fight against opium warlord Khun Sa. They assert that US indictments had contributed to Burma's latest successes (Agence France Presse, 01/10/96).
Jan 15, 1996 Minority ethnic groups that have for decades resisted domination by Burmese authorities are bracing for a renewed crackdown by the ruling military junta now that the Rangoon government has reached a deal with drug lord Khun Sa. Some 1000 government soldiers have already moved south from territory formerly held by Khun Sa to join the fighting against the Karenni (Inter Press Service, 01/15/96). Reports indicate that the SLORC has reached a ceasefire deal with the Eastern Shan State Army which will allow the group to continue opium production (Inter Press Service, 01/15/96).
Mar 6, 1996 Some Mong Tai Army members will be incorporated into Burmese army units. They will reportedly join the Ka Kwe Ye, a militia unit under the command of the armed forces (British Broadcasting Corporation, 03/06/96).
Mar 10, 1996 While the SLORC asserts that the military situation in Shan State is fully under its control, a Shan Herald Agency News team traveled to various Thai/ Shan border areas, talked and interviewed with concerned people in the Shan resistance movements and filed a contradictory report. The report says that many areas are still controlled by Shan resistance armies. A chunk of area bordering Laos in the east and Thailand in the south is also occupied by ex-MTA Mong Tai Army troops. The Shan groups still involved in the armed struggle are the Shan State National Army (SSNA), Shan State Army (SSA), Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) and former members of the Mong Tai Army (MTA) under various leaderships (British Broadcasting Corporation, 03/10/96).
Jun 24, 1996 Reports indicate that Burmese troops have entered areas along the Thai border that they have been denied access to since independence in 1948. The junta is reported to be using brutal tactics to chase down the remnants of Khun Sa's army and several other Shan groups. Other groups nearby that have signed ceasefire agreements with the government are being allowed to increase their earnings through unhindered opium and heroin production (Agence France Presse, 06/24/96). The government is also reported to be engaged in a major drive to relocate villagers in remote areas of central and southern Shan state, which is opposite Thailand's northern province of Chiang Mai. Since March at least 80,000 people have been relocated. They will be shot on sight if they return, says a recent report from a foundation based on a survey of villagers who fled to Thailand. In Shan state and neighboring Kayah state, old villages have been burned and looted, while the relocated residents face appalling conditions and are subject to be forced labor on road construction projects (Ibid.).
Aug 1, 1996 Japan's Sumitomo Corporation has reached an agreement with Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) to supply and install digital microwave systems which will improve telecommunication links between central Burma and northeastern Shan state (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 08/01/96).
Sep 10, 1996 Thailand's Asia Investment Co. Ltd. will conduct mineral prospecting, exploration and a feasibility study on potential deposits of gold, copper and base metal in southern Shan state (Xinhua News Agency, 09/10/96).
Sep 15, 1996 A business group set up by Japanese, Thai and Italian companies will conduct a feasibility survey of a 200-megawatt hydroelectric power project in the eastern Shan state (Xinhua News Agency, 09/15/96).
Sep 28, 1996 Authorities state that 411 members of the Shan State National Army (SSNA) operating in the north of the state have surrendered. The SSNA is a breakaway rebel group from warlord Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA) (Japan Economic Newswire, 09/28/96).
Nov 21, 1996 The Shan State Army, Shan United Revolutionary Army, and Shan State National Army have merged into an anti-Rangoon alliance called the Shan State National Organization (SSNO). Its military wing will be referred to as the Shan State Army. The new organization which has 10,000 members is headquartered near the Chinese border (Bangkok Post, 11/21/96).
Jan 5, 1997 Since March of last year, the SLORC has launched one of the largest relocation programs in central Shan state. More than 100,000 people from 600 villages have been moved to 45 main relocation sites. Some 20,000 have fled to Thailand (Bangkok Post, 01/05/97). Ex-Mong Tai Army members formed a new army, the Shan United Revolutionary Army (SURA), between January and March of last year. Clashes between these members and the military reportedly resulted in heavy government casualties last February. The government responded with its forced relocation program (Ibid.).
Jan 15, 1997 Representatives of fifteen ethnic groups from across Burma, including the SURA and the Shan Democratic Union, attended a meeting in Karen-held territory on January 15. The groups signed the Mae Tha Raw Hta agreement which calls for the establishment of a democratic, federal union in Burma. Among those present at the meeting were representatives of the Wa, Kachin, Karenni, and Mon groups with whom the ruling junta has signed ceasefire agreements over the last few years. The delegates also expressed support for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and for the need for a tripartite dialogue between the Burmese regime, the NLD, and ethnic groups. The State Law and Order Restoration Council's (SLORC) efforts to draft a new constitution were described as a "sham" (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97) At this meeting, the United Nationalities Shan State Army was also formed. It consists of the SURA and groups from the Wa, Pao, and Lahu ethnic groups. Rather than fighting each other, the groups will coordinate their anti-government actions (Jane's Intelligence Review, 11/01/98).
Feb 1, 1997 At least 21 rebels were killed as the Shan United Revolutionary Army engaged in military battles with the government in January and February. The SURA is reported to number around 10,000 (International Country Risk Guide, 04/01/97).
Feb 1997 Seventeen ethnic rebel groups including the Shan meet in Karen National Union-controlled territory under the banner of the newly-revived National Democratic Front (NDF). The NDF fought against the military in the 1970s and 1980s until the KIA signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 1994 . A spokesman says that several rebel groups are set to renege on their cease-fire deals and resume fighting. Reports indicate that the government has launched a military offensive in Karen areas to stop the groups from reuniting (Inter Press Service, 02/12/97; Reuters, 02/06/97). Unlike other Burmese minority groups seeking refuge in Thailand, Shan asylum seekers have no access to recognized temporary camps at which they can seek assistance or protection. Members of the Shan group have been fleeing to Thailand to escape reported repression, including forced porterage (US Department of State, 02/97).
Feb 3, 1997 The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) recently protested to the chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) that one of their members has been forced to resign from the party by an army officer (Mainichi Daily News, 02/03/97).
Feb 18, 1997 Thailand has provided Burma with a $12 million loan to repave a 102-kilometer road through Shan State which could eventually link Thailand with southern China (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/18/97).
Feb 27, 1997 Members of the Shan United Revolutionary Army, the Kayah State's 2nd Division, the Wa National Organization, and the Lahu of the LDF are preventing Burmese troops from crossing the Salween River and entering areas west of the Kayah military stronghold. In addition, the multi-ethnic force is also planning attacks against the Burmese regime in different areas (British Broadcasting Corporation, 02/27/97).
Mar 6, 1997 A SLORC spokesman confirms that small-scale guerrilla warfare continues with the KNU (Karen), the SURA (Shan) and the KNPP (Karenni). The SURA has continued to fight the government despite the MTA's cease-fire deal in late 1995 (Agence France Press, BBC, 03/06/97).
Mar 10, 1997 Reports indicate that to avoid Burmese suppression, heroin production has shifted to areas controlled by the Wa and the Kokang ethnic groups along the China border and into Laos and Thailand. These setbacks have allegedly allowed the ethnic Chinese to assume a dominant role in controlling the heroin leaving the "Golden Triangle" (Federal News Service, 04/10/97). A clash between the military and the SURA results in the deaths of 10 soldiers and 13 rebels (Reuters, 04/10/97).
Mar 17, 1997 A Burma-US joint survey team that is comprised of narcotics and agricultural experts from the US State Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and senior Burmese police officials has visited Burma's eastern Shan state and conducted surveys of more than 200 poppy fields. Earlier this month, a State Department official in Washington stated that the survey, conducted under a 1996 US-Burma agreement, "does not involve any assistance whatsoever to the Burmese military junta" (Agence France Presse, 03/17/97).
May 20, 1997 The US Committee for Refugees says that internal displacement, which was recorded at 19 million people worldwide in 1996, was especially severe in Myanmar, where some 500,000 to one million people have been forced to relocate. These include an estimated 100,000 villagers forced by military authorities to evacuate Shan State, in last March alone (Japan Economic Newswire, 05/20/97).
May 21, 1997 The South China Morning Post reports that civilians are being murdered by elite units deployed by the Burmese military junta in an effort to clamp down on Shan guerrilla forces. Special death squads have been employed to roam Shan state (05/21/97).
Jun 3, 1997 Burmese authorities deny claims by Shan rebels that they had shot dead 58 villagers in Shan state (Xinhua News Agency, 07/03/97).
Jul 10, 1997 A SURA member says the group has blocked the road from Thailand and the Shan state village of Keng Tung into the central Burmese city of Mandalay. The organization claims to field 8000 guerrillas (Agence France Presse, 07/10/97).
Aug 1, 1997 The Coordinating Committee of the Mae Tha Raw Hta Agreement says the government is interested only in "forced unity". The agreement was signed in January by some 15 ethnic groups including the Shan State Army (British Broadcasting Corporation, 08/01/97).
Aug 26, 1997 Canada and the US have imposed economic sanctions against Burma due to its human rights record (BBC, 08/26/97).
Sep 10, 1997 The leader of the Shan United Revolutionary Army, Yord Serk, urges his supporters not to take out their anger against the government on ethnic Burmese civilians. His comments come two months after about 25 Burmese civilians were killed, likely by Shan peoples. No one has claimed responsibility for that incident. Shan human rights monitors state that after the Burmese civilians were killed the army responded by killing 400 people in Shan state within the next month. Shan refugees in Thailand report forcible relocations, starvation, and the selling of land owned by Shans to Chinese and Burmese newcomers (South China Morning Post, 09/10/97).
Dec 22, 1997 The Burmese Eastern Military Command Headquarters has dispatched 10 battalions to reinforce government troops in the border area in preparation for a new offensive drive against the United Wa State Army (UWSA). A source believes that the new reinforcement was made to prevent the Wa rebels from helping Shan insurgents who are fighting government troops in the central and southern regions of Shan State. The UWSA used to help the Burmese government fight the Mong Tai Army of Khun Sa. However, after Khun Sa signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in December 1995, UWSA attempted to expand its control to cover the southern part of Shan State. The Burmese government later demanded that the Wa troops be pulled back to the north. The United Wa State Army refused to comply with the ultimatum and then joined forces with Shan rebels in the central and northern parts of Shan State (British Broadcasting Corporation, 12/22/97).
Jan 15, 1998 The Shan United Revolutionary Army says it has formed a military alliance with the Shan State Army and Shan State National Army. Their combined forces are reported to be around 15, 000. They will operate together throughout Shan state (Agence France Presse, 01/15/98).
Feb 16, 1998 At least 11 Myanmar government troops were killed and many left injured when Shan rebels attacked a government military outpost in Shan state on February 11. Hundreds of Shan villagers in the region where the fighting occurred have fled to Thai refugee camps. They are reported to suffer from hunger and disease (Agence France Presse, 02/26/98; Japan Economic Newswire, 02/16/98).
Mar 9, 1998 A Shan rebel group reports that the Burmese government has given the United Wa State Army (UWSA) one more year to vacate its bases in southern Shan state (British Broadcasting Corporation, 03/09/98).
Mar 22, 1998 An investigation by the Sunday Times reveals that Burma is holding AIDS victims, primarily women, including those of the Shan group in concentration camps in Shan state. Some of these women are sold by guards to brothels within the country. It also notes that forced relocation of Shans has recently led to 600 deaths, 1470 villages being burnt, and the forcible relocations of some 300,000 people (Times Newspaper Ltd, 03/22/98).
Apr 14, 1998 Amnesty International asserts that Burma's armed forces have killed at least 300 people in Shan state in the past two years and forced some 300,000 Shan to flee their homes. Hundreds of Shan were also tortured. Some 80,000 Shan have fled to Thailand (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 04/14/98).
Apr 16, 1998 Burma's military rulers contend that an Amnesty International report detailing human rights abuses against Shan civilians is a fabrication (AAP Newsfeed, 04/16/98).
Apr 19, 1998 The Human Rights Fund of Burma's Shan State says that in 1997 the Burmese government began to evacuate 55,557 families of a total of more than 300,000 Shan villagers living in 1478 villages located in the central region of the Shan State to live in major cities without any preparation for shelters to accommodate them. As a result many villagers could not be evacuated on schedule. Burmese forces reportedly killed 664 villagers when they refused to move out of their villages on time (British Broadcasting Corporation, 04/24/98).
May 7, 1998 Thai officials deny reports that about 50 Myanmar troops have set up a base in northwest Thailand and plan to launch attacks on Shan guerrillas hiding near the border (Agence France Presse, 05/07/98).
May 31, 1998 The UN Special Reporter on Burma stated in January that Burmese troops have been abducting ''increasing numbers of women, including young girls and the elderly'' who have become victims of rape and other abuses. The raping of ethnic women is being used as a tool of war (The Nation, 05/31/98).
Jun 3, 1998 Burmese authorities report that they have destroyed a dozen more heroin refineries in Shan state following the destruction of 33 sites in 1997. Country-wide, they state that over 2600 kilograms of narcotics including more than 170 kg heroin were also seized with over 8000 hectares of poppy plantations destroyed in the same period (Xinhua News Agency, 06/03/98).
Aug 26, 1998 Ethnic minorities' representatives and minority NLD members have been barred from leaving their home areas to attend a parliament in August called by the NLD. The Shan NLD won 23 seats in the 1990 elections which were never honored (British Broadcasting Corporation, 08/26/98).
Sep 8, 1998 Three ethnic groups based in Kayah and Shan states that have signed ceasefire agreements with the government are calling on the military to enter into a dialogue with opposition groups. The groups are the Karenni Nationalities Peoples' Liberation Front (KNPLF), the Kayan Newland Party (KNP) and the Shan Nationalities Peoples' Liberation Organization (SNPLO) (British Broadcasting Corporation, 09/08/98).
Sep 20, 1998 Shan villagers reportedly tortured and killed five Burmese civilians and government officials who survived a plane clash. Some 30 people have been arrested (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/20/98).
Sep 25, 1998 A Burmese opposition group says a faction of the Shan State Army (SSA) located in northern Shan state has signed a ceasefire agreement with the government (British Broadcasting Corporation, 09/25/98). A faction of the SSA that reached a deal with the government says that it rejects a confrontational approach to reaching a solution to the country's political problems. The SSA's statement appears to be against the efforts of the National League for Democracy (NLD) (Ibid.).
Sep 30, 1998 The army has reportedly threatened a number of ethnic groups with which it has reached ceasefire agreements due to their calls for a peaceful political dialogue with the NLD (British Broadcasting Corporation, 09/30/98).
Nov 1, 1998 Reports indicate that due to government-sponsored programs most of southern Shan state has been depopulated. Since 1997, there has been a sharp increase in reported atrocities including mass rapes and killings of Shans. At least 664 extra-judicial killings in 1997 were documented by a Shan human rights organization. Large-scale relocations have been undertaken as the government attempts to control the Shan United Revolutionary Army. Forced portering and starvation is also reported in Shan state. A Burma expert, Professor Bertil Linter, says that the human rights abuses are "a policy of ethnic cleansing". Burmans have been moving into Shan state (Jane's Intelligence Review, 11/01/98).
Nov 12, 1998 A Chinese machinery company has entered into agreements worth $170 million to fully equip a hydro-electric power plant in Shan state (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 11/12/98).
Dec 12 - 14, 1998 Burmese opposition groups state that twenty-three ethnic and political organizations attended a seminar on National Solidarity at Thoo Mwe Klo in Karen territory from December 12 to 14. The organizations signed an agreement that calls for the abolishment of the military government, the establishment of a democratic, federal union, the convening of the parliament based on the NLD electoral victory in 1990, and a ban on foreign investment until the regime changes. A Coordinating and Organizing Committee was formed to implement the organizations' decisions. Among those who signed the agreement are the All Burma Muslim Union, the Muslim Liberation Organization, the Arakan League for Democracy, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Chin National Front, the Chin NLD, the Karen National Union, the Shan Democratic Union, the ABSDF, and representatives of the Wa, Palaung, and Lau ethnic groups (British Broadcasting Corporation, 12/21/98).
Dec 15, 1998 A faction of the Shan State Army (SSA), which signed a ceasefire deal, is receiving monthly financial payments from the central government as well as concessions to cut teak, mine gemstones and tax vehicles -- including opium convoys -- that transit its territory. SSA leaders insist that they earn nothing from opium cultivation and that government money cannot buy their allegiance (International Herald Tribune , 12/15/98).
Dec 29, 1998 The Burmese government has begun its dry season offensive against the WNO (Wa National Organization) and the Shan State Army in Shan state (British Broadcasting Corporation, 12/29/98).
Jan 31, 1999 Burma's military seizes half a million speed pills and 53 kilograms of heroin in a town in Shan state near the border with Thailand (AAP Newsfeed, 01/31/99).
Feb 1, 1999 Sources from Shan state contend that the junta might be eliminating its ethnic rivals by poisoning them. The victims reportedly include Brang Seng, the leader of the Kachin Independence Organization, Chao Yilai, president of the powerful Wa Army, Col Kaifah, vice-president of the Shan State Army, and Rev Boonchoom of Mongphong Temple from Tachilek. All of them signed ceasefire agreements with the government (British Broadcasting Corporation, 02/01/99).
Feb 23, 1999 Shan human rights activists assert that Burma's military junta has poisoned the water supply of 10,000 Shan villagers, killing at least 400 of them since last May (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/23/99).
Apr 9, 1999 Delegations from 15 Burmese dissident groups met near the Thai border last week to consolidate their power to fight against the Rangoon government. The groups, under the umbrella of the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB), held the meeting between April 2 and 4 in the jungle. The 4500-strong Shan State Army of Yord Serk, a former aid to opium lord Khun Sa, recently become associated with the DAB (Japan Economic Newswire, 04/09/99).
May 25, 1999 A government crackdown in northern Shan state has left thousands dead or homeless or forced them to flee to camps in Thailand. About 120,000 Burmese refugees live in 16 camps just inside the Thai border and nearly 2,000 arrived in February alone (International Herald Tribune, 05/25/99).
May 27, 1999 Thousands of Shan villagers are fleeing their homes because of a military policy to depopulate potential rebel areas. The mass relocation of more than 300,000 Shans from their homes to ill-supplied resettlement sites next to army bases has driven thousands into the jungles of Shan state. Northern Thailand has seen between 1500 and 3000 refugees a month pour across the border, prompting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to call on Bangkok to grant temporary asylum to Shans escaping persecution (The Guardian (London), 05/27/99).
May 31, 1999 Reports indicate that former drug kingpin Khun Sa has been paralyzed for some months. He has also reportedly regretted his decision to surrender to authorities in December 1995 (British Broadcasting Corporation, 05/31/99).
Jun 14, 1999 The Shan State Army has reportedly taken control of some territory around the former stronghold of drug czar Khun Sa. Yord Serk, the leader of the SSA, says that there have been three major government attacks at Homong since some 1500 rebels surrounded the area (Agence France Presse, 06/14/99).
Jun 16, 1999 Five minority groups still fighting the Burmese junta meet in Karen territory near the Thai-Burma border to form an alliance. After two days of meetings, the groups agree to cooperate on military, intelligence, and political issues to unify the groups. Hosted by the Karen National Union, the meeting is also attended by the Shan State Army, the Arakan Liberation Party, the Karenni National Progressive Party and the Chin National Front. A commander of the Shan State Army says that the rebels are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the Burmese forces (Agence France Presse, 06/16/99).
Jul 30, 1999 Representatives from the Wa National Organization, Lahu Democratic Front, Palaung State Liberation Front, Pa-O People's Liberation Organization, Shan States Army, and Shan Democratic Union-- all of which operate in Shan state-- meet and set out conditions for reconciliation and peace. They emphasize the need for a tripartite dialogue between the government, the NLD, and ethnic minorities and the establishment of a genuine federation of states (British Broadcasting Corporation, 07/30/99).

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