October 10, 2007

Myanmar: Generals Refuse to Shoot Monks

(Yangon, Myanmar) There appears to be disagreement in the ranks of the Myanmar's military junta.

Myanmar's ruling junta have detained five generals and more than 400 soldiers for disobeying orders to shoot and beat monks and other activists who took part in recent protests in Yangon, an official said Monday.

The official, who asked for anonymity out of fear he would be punished by the junta, said it was the first sign of divisions in the country's secretive establishment.

"The five generals expressed their refusal to deploy their troops against the monks openly. They were then quickly put into detention by the junta.

"Some 400 soldiers of the Sikai Division near Mandalay (Myanmar's second largest city) also put down their guns in front of the monks, and asked for their forgiveness as they fully realized they had committed the biggest sin," he told The Jakarta Post.

The official refused to disclose the names of the generals or give further details on where the generals and the soldiers were detained.

Also being reported is a wide disparity in the numbers of deaths. The government announced about 10 people were killed during last week's protests. Other sources contend that the death count is much higher. In any event, one hopes that disobedience in the military will lead to a less oppressive thugocracy.

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