Claims of military unrest and possible coup in Burma unconfirmed

By staff writers
September 29, 2007

As yet unconfirmed reports from military sources in Burma say that there is significant unrest in the army, with reports of mutinying in some areas and claims that a coup is taking place. Meanwhile the death toll of protesters has been growing significantly.

It is unclear how many are involved in the revolts. Reports cite heavy shooting in the former Burmese capital. The organisation Helfen ohne Grenzen (Help without Frontiers) is reporting that "Soldiers from the 66th LID (Light Infantry Divison) have turned their weapons against other government troops and possibly police in North Okkalappa township in Rangoon and are defending the protesters."

Meanwhile, military sources in Rangoon are claiming that the regime's number two, General Maung Aye, has staged a coup against Than Shwe, and that his troops are now guarding Aung San Suu Kyi's home. A meeting between him and Suu Kyi is expected. Maung Aye is army commander-in-chief and a renowned pragmatist.

One diplomatic source is also saying that Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved to a police academy compound outside Rangoon, where she is expected to meet Maung Aye. As yet, though, there no independent confirmation of this development - which has been published on The First Post's Burma Newsdesk.

In an increasingly chaotic situation, the rumour has also gone out that the junta has set up a plot to assassinate the most senior venerable monks (Sanga Maha Naryaka) tonight, making it look as if this has been carried out by the those involved in street protests.

Earlier today it emerged that the army had been entering almost all the monasteries in Yangon, arresting and shooting people.

Soldiers in Mandalay are among those reported to have refused orders to act against protesters. More recent reports now maintain that soldiers from the 99th LID now being sent there to confront them.

Growing numbers of protestors have been gathering in Rangoon, with 10,000 at the Traders Hotel and 50,000 at the Thein Gyi market. The police have turned water cannons against crowds at Sule Pagoda.

Many phone lines into the Burmese state have now been cut, mobile networks have been disabled and the national internet service provider has been taken off-line.

More on this story here (29 Sept, 19.15):

With acknowledgments to The First Post:

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