Western hostages accused of conniving with embassy gunmen
YANGON, Oct 4 (AFP) - Westerners taken hostage by anti-junta gunmen who
stormed the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok last week met and "connived" with
their captors beforehand, Myanmar's state-run press said Monday. The
official media also said the armed group of five, who fled to the
Thai-Myanmar border in a helicopter after releasing their captives, had
stolen cash and documents from the embassy offices.
"It is learned that the terrorists had connived beforehand with some of
the foreigners who had come for visas on that day," an official report in
the Burmese language Mirror daily said.
The newspaper did not elaborate on how it claimed the Westerners might
have assisted the gunmen. A number of foreigners were amongst the hostages
taken by the armed men who took over the embassy in central Bangkok on
Friday. The ***pers demanded that the military junta in Yangon open
talks with the democratic opposition led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San
Suu Kyi. The junta repeatedly accuses Aung San Suu Kyi, who denied
involvement in the embassy storming and decried the use of ***, of
having foreign backers. As the five gunmen climbed into an escape
helicopter provided by the Thai authorities Saturday to take them to the
border, freed Western hostages waved red pro-democracy banners and shouted
slogans. Photos of at least seven Western men and women wearing red
headbands and holding a rebel flag were splashed across the front pages of
newspapers around the region the next day. The junta have labelled the
hostage-takers as terrorists, saying that action must be taken against them.
"Although the incident is over, it is also very important to make these
criminals realise that no matter under what pretext or disguise it might
have been staged, the peace-loving people of the world community will not
tolerate the criminal and terrorist activities they have committed," a
statement Saturday said.
Since then no further official statements have been issued. The junta
has meanwhile beefed up security around foreign embassies in the
capital Yangon. Witnesses and officials said extra police guards had been
posted near embassy compounds. Officials said the Thai-Myanmar border
remained closed Monday, with little sign of unusual activity, despite Thai
media reports of increased Myanmar troop concentrations.
"There is no report of any tension along the border" a Thai border
official told AFP.
Thin Myat Thu (Thida) Tel: + 47 22 414143
Web Editor Fax: + 47 22 413929
Democratic Voice of Burma http://www.travelOK.net/