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    Burmese Rebel Group Warns of Increased Fighting


    by NTDTelevision

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    One of Burma's biggest rebel groups is demanding better dialogue with the country's military rulers. They say that if the situation doesn't improve, fighting will become widespread and intensify.

    These men are recent recruits to Burma's rebel Shan State Army.

    They're in training for what their leaders say could become a wider and more intense conflict against government forces.

    They fear the new administration will try to crush them with military might.

    [Yawd Serk, Chairman, Shan State Army]:
    "If the new Burmese government doesn't want to open up for the ethnic minority groups to take part in solving problems, but uses its armed forces to oppress these groups, then the fighting will spread out to broader areas than where it is now."

    Last month thousands fled as fighting erupted in Myawaddy town on the Thai border.

    The conflict began when a Karen faction, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, tried to seize the town as an act of defiance over government demands to join border patrols.

    Burma's military rulers want the ethnic militias to disarm and transfer their fighters to a state-run border guard force.

    Some ethnic groups including those with tenuous ceasefires with the government are increasingly unhappy at what they regard as interference.

    The Shan State Army leaders say they could equal the size of the government's forces if all the ethnic rebel groups united.

    Burmese exiles say the country's military rulers will probably try to flush out the rebels.

    The rebel groups say they'll fight to defend their territories.

    Many analysts fear war is imminent, raising fears in Thailand and China particularly of a protracted conflict, refugee crisis and disruption to trade and crucial energy projects.