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Myanmar still hunting dissidents
Al-Jazeera, Oct 18, 2007
Yangon, Myanmar -- Myanmar's military government says it is still hunting for protesters who took part in recent anti-government demonstrations.
<< Dalai lama says military's beating of monks was "very bad" and reminded him of China's treatment of Tibetan monks
It said on Wednesday that nearly 3,000 had been detained since the crackdown started last month and hundreds remain in custody.
The statement on Wednesday came as Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, criticised the ruling generals.
"Those who led, got involved in and supported the unrest which broke out in September were called in and are being interrogated," the government's New Light of Myanmar mouthpiece said on Wednesday.
"Where are the peace and human rights defenders of the world (the super powers)? They haven't done enough in this case. Isn't there oil in Myanmar?"
It said 2,927 people had been arrested since the crackdown started and nearly 500 were still in custody.
"Some are still being called in for questioning and those who should be released will be."
In the last tally of arrests, released on October 8, the military said nearly 2,100 had been arrested.
Diplomats and dissidents say they believe up to 6,000 people were arrested in the crackdown, including thousands of monks who led the rallies.
They also believe the toll is much higher than the official figure of 10 given by the military when troops fired into crowds on September 26 and 27.
The opposition National League for Democracy party of detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said more than 300 party members had been detained since August, including 60 within the past week.
On Tuesday, Ban again urged the military government to move more quickly towards democracy.
"I would strongly urge the Myanmar authorities to implement fully the seven-point road map for democratisation," he said in New York.
The generals have rebuffed international criticism and say they will "march on" using their seven-point road map to democracy which is supposed to culminate with elections at an unspecified date.
So far, only the plan's first stage - drawing up guidelines for a new constitution - has been completed, and that took more than a decade.
Critics say the road map is a ruse to allow the military to stay in power.
Ban said the way Myanmar authorities treated demonstrators was "abhorrent and unacceptable".
"The Myanmar authorities should think about the future of their country and of their people, reflecting and respecting all the wishes of the international community," he said.
"I hope that through continued dialogue between my special envoy, Mr
Gambari, and the Myanmar authorities, we will be able to make progress."
Gambari is on an Asian tour to press Myanmar's neighbours to take the lead in resolving the crisis and is supposed to head back to Myanmar next month.
The Dalai Lama, on a visit to Washington on Tuesday, said the military's beating of monks was "very bad" and reminded him of China's treatment of Tibetan monks.
He made an "expression of my solidarity with the demonstrators" and also told the Myanmar military to tread lightly with fellow Buddhists.
"The junta, they are also Buddhists, so logically they should follow Buddhist teachings: non-violence or compassion - and beating a monk is very bad."