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Shan Elders Declare Independence from Burma

A group of elders from Burma's Shan ethnic group has declared a Shan State independent from the military junta.

In a speech from an undisclosed location on Sunday, His Royal Highness Prince Surkhanpha, director of the Brussels-based Euro Burma Office, cited Burma's 1947 constitution for the move.

That constitution was nullified by a military coup in 1962 and replaced by another constitution in 1974.

Prince Surkhanpha's declaration of independence was accompanied by a foreign policy statement that declared Shan State a war zone and warned foreigners to avoid the region.

The statement urged all Shan people living abroad to return home and serve their country, the Federated Shan States.

Reports circulating in the Burmese exile community say the prince's declaration of independence has raised concern among many ethnic Shan living outside their homeland.