THERE is growing concern for hundreds of monks and other protesters detained by the Burmese military regime since it began its crackdown a week ago.
Witnesses reported slightly fewer troops on Rangoon’s streets yesterday, but raids on homes by gangs looking for dissident monks and civilians suggested [UN Special Envoy] Gambari’s nascent shuttle diplomacy and international calls for restraint had made little difference. “They are going from apartment to apartment, shaking things inside, threatening the people. You have a climate of terror all over the city,” a Bangkok-based Burma expert said.
The UN and regime officials said yesterday that at least 1000 were being held in a warehouse on the campus of the Government Technical Institute. A senior UN official said he was concerned at reports that the detainees, including about 500 monks who have reportedly stopped eating, were being moved to another location, heightening fears for their wellbeing. A Burmese official said up to 1700 people were detained in a windowless warehouse. The group included about 200 women. He said the monks had been disrobed and many were refusing to eat.