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Burma Rebel Leader Quoted As Supporting Student Demonstrators With PM-Burma

September 10, 1988

HONG KONG (AP) _ A Burmese rebel leader was quoted today as saying his group would provide military support to student protesters if fighting broke out with the armed forces in Burma.

Brang Seng said the support would include weapons, training and sanctuary if needed, according to a report in the English-language Hong Kong Standard.

Burma has been wracked by weeks of unrest. Students have led demonstrations seeking to replace one-party rule with a democratic government.

In the Burmese capital of Rangoon today, the ruling party announced it would end its 26-year monopoly on power and hold general elections under a multiparty system.

The newspaper said Brang Seng, a key figure in the National Democratic Front, had predicted today’s action in an interview in Hong Kong earlier this week.

″The fact is that they have to abdicate, to leave, to relinquish,″ he was quoted as saying. He said the Burma Socialist Program Party could not stay in power much longer.

The National Democratic Front is an alliance of 10 rebel groups, all ethnic minorities, fighting the Burmese government. Brang Seng told the Standard that the front had adopted a ″wait and see″ attitude as anti-government demonstrations swept the country.

But he said student leaders had been promised support from the rebels.

″We will provide provisions, we will accept them in areas that are totally liberated by us, and we will, if the need arises, train and equip them to be ready for that eventuality (of military confrontation),″ Brang Seng was quoted as saying.

The Standard said Brang Seng, who belongs to an organization of the Kachin minority group, had left the British colony, but it did not say where he went.

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