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Burmese Government Confirms Activists' Arrest


Burma's military government has confirmed the detention of five pro-democracy activists, saying they were taken into custody to prior to a ceremony last week marking the 18th anniversary of the founding of the National League for Democracy.

A statement appearing in a state-run newspaper Tuesday says the five former student leaders were held as a precaution against what the government calls internal commotion, instability and terrorism.

The five, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Min Zeya and Pyone Cho, all had key roles in a pro-democracy uprising that Burma's military government crushed in 1988, and each also has served at least 10 years in prison.

Burma's military government links its concerns about potential unrest to a U.S.-led move to put the question of Burma on the agenda of the U.N. Security Council. This would trigger further U.N. scrutiny of Burma.

The National League for Democracy won Burma's national elections by a landslide in 1990, but the military prevented the NLD from taking power. Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been in detention for 10 of the 16 years since then.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.