Hundreds of Shan rebels surrender arms to junta
The 848 men from a breakaway faction of the Shan State Army relinquished over 800 guns, 55 hand grenades and 63 mines.india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 13:56 IST
Nearly 900 Shan ethnic rebels have surrendered their weapons to Myanmar's military regime, turning in hundreds of guns, grenades and mines, state media reported on Saturday.
The 848 men from a breakaway faction of the Shan State Army relinquished over 800 guns, 55 hand grenades, 63 mines and communication equipment at a ceremony on Friday in the northeastern Shan States, said the Myanmar Ahlin newspaper.
Shan rebels began turning in their arms after a government crackdown on Shan organisations, including the arrests of at least a dozen Shan politicians since February and heavy shelling of the Shan State Army's headquarters in April.
Those who surrendered came from a breakaway group led by Commander Mein Sein, the newspaper said.
In exchange for their surrender, the rebels were given "assistance for their livelihood" and land, the newspaper said.
"The people and all ethnic minorities from southern, northern and eastern Shan States along with the (the army) warmly welcome those who realised the goodwill of the government and returned to the legal fold," the paper said.
The majority of the Shan State Army, led by Yawd Serk, remains hostile to the junta and is opposed to the truce.
The junta had previously estimated the size of the rebel's army at about 5,000 troops.