Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Than Shwe’s Underground Bunker Complete?

As the Burma junta celebrates the fourth anniversary of reestablished diplomatic ties with North Korea on April 26, analysts claims the Southeast Asian nation’s military has upgraded its underground bunkers with missile capacity.
Dr. U Win, of the Adjunct Faculty at San Diego State University's Visualization Center, California, told The Irrawaddy that Burma’s underground facilities were probably completed last year. His research claims that North Korean technology was instrumental in the developments, and one underground bunker entrance was around six miles from junta supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s house in Naypyidaw.
“According to my analysis, the satellite images in 2008 are quite different from the 2010 ones. Therefore, we could say underground facilities around Naypyidaw were completed in 2010,” said U Win.
Satellite image of the opulent palace where Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye live. [Image courtesy of U Win]
“Snr-Gen Than Shwe’s residence is strategically close to a underground facility site approximately 10 miles by road or six miles straight-line distance on the western hill-slope of the Shan Ranges,” he added. “It enters a hill-like spur area with three offshoot roads acting as feeder roads giving access to seven construction sites camouflaged with magenta-colored nets.”
“Facing up the hill-slope, a barrage of bunkers and pillboxes has been positioned surrounding the general’s residence. There is a helipad on the road from Than Shwe’s house to the near underground facility site,” he said.
Military sources in Naypyidaw said the new capital is designated to be divided into roughly three parts. The old Pyinmana town is in the centre and now called Pyinmana Naypyidaw. Plain Pyinmana is the government offices area and where Parliament buildings plus other administration residences are located. The military side has the mountains in their back and is called Paung Laung Naypyidaw, as the Paung Laung dam is situated there.
Residences of Than Shwe and another top six generals—as well as the War Office and other military sites including underground facilities—are found in Paung Laung Naypyidaw.
The residence of junta number two Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye is next door to Than Shwe’s house. However, Than Shwe’s home in Paung Laung Naypyidaw is noticeably bigger than Maung Aye’s abode, according to satellite pictures.
Comparing two satellite pictures from 2006 and 2010, geography expert U Win said that a village which once lay just one mile away from Than Shwe’s Naypyidaw residence has been replaced with a military establishment.
The underground facility near Than Shwe’s house is around the Pyinmana-Pin Laung Road near Paung Laung river, and there are at least three major army posts between the general’s house and the secret underground site.
“Two military posts are on the hilltop and one is located near a junction on the Pyinmana- Pin Laung road,” according to U Win.
Since Burma’s underground facilities were allegedly developed with North Korean help, the fear is that Burmese generals also have anti-aircraft guns and Scud-type missiles as well as a command center.
Recently, a Burma expert based in Thailand, Bertil Lintner, wrote in his Military Cooperation Between Burma and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea report that one of two major munitions factories is in Minhla Township, on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River, and producing sophisticated Scud-type missiles.
Hidden bunkers which are partly covered by vegetation. [Image courtesy of U Win]
“North Korean experts are reportedly assisting Burma’s own military technicians in the top-secret project,” Linter claimed. Two locations in Minhla Township, Magway Division, called Malun and Konegyi have been used by the Directorate of Military Ordinance since the former regime of the Burmese Social Programme Party (BSPP) in the late 1970s.
Local people in Minhla know that the defense industry town of Malun and mountainous weapons testing area of Konegyi have been made off-limits to civilians by the military.

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