- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2002

RANGOON, Burma (Agence France-Presse) The nation's ruling junta said yesterday it has foiled a coup attempt mounted by relatives of former dictator Ne Win, while other sources said three top military and police figures linked to them were also fired.
The son-in-law and three grandsons of 92-year-old Ne Win, who ruled Burma between 1962 and 1988, were arrested Thursday at a restaurant where they were plotting a takeover with a former military commander, officials said.
Deputy intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Kyaw Win identified them as Aye Zaw Win, the husband of Ne Win's favored daughter Sandar Win, and their sons Aye Ne Win, Kyaw Ne Win and Zwe Ne Win, all in their 20s or 30s.
"The four have been arrested for attempting to seize power from the current leadership," he told reporters.
Kyaw Win said no action had been taken against Ne Win or Sandar Win, who since the arrests have been held at their lakeside residence in Rangoon, with their telephone lines cut.
Later yesterday, sources close to the junta said the chief of police, Gen. Soe Win, air force Chief of Staff Myint Swe and the military commander, Brig. Gen. Chit Than, have been given their marching orders.
The three were known to be personal friends of Aye Zaw Win, but there was no immediate sign that they were directly involved in the coup.
Kyaw Win rejected rumors flying around the capital that the junta's top three leaders, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, army chief Gen. Maung Aye and military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt were engaged in a power play.
Ne Win's family members were also accused of involving a number of military units in their plan to wrest power from the ruling State Peace and Development Council.
"The government took steps to prevent this conspiracy, which not only threatened military unity but also the peace and stability of the country … They were arrested in the nick of time," Kyaw Win said.
The Ne Win family, which had long enjoyed special privileges that allowed it to build a sizable business empire, had grown unhappy with the lack of favors now being extended to it, he said.
Diplomats said that after the arrests, carried out by dozens of armed soldiers, Sandar Win said she was barred from leaving the house.
A squad of military intelligence officers then replaced the regular army guard protecting Ne Win. Sources said the men in the guard unit have been asked to leave Rangoon.


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