[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 12:48 GMT
Burma aide's death sparks rumours
Maung Aye (archive photo)
The dead man was a close aide to Maung Aye
The personal assistant of a senior Burmese general has died in the capital Rangoon, state media has reported.

It is not clear how 42-year-old Lt-Col Bo Win Tun, assistant to deputy head of state Senior General Maung Aye, died.

An opposition group based in Oslo said he was variously rumoured to have been assassinated, to have killed himself, or to have died protecting Maung Aye.

The reports, which came as high-profile military trials were due to start, suggest a continuing power struggle.

Burmese official media reported Bo Win Tun's funeral had taken place, but did not say how he died.

An opposition radio station based in Norway, the Democratic Voice of Burma, said it was trying to get more details.

Correspondents say there appear to have been splits within Burma's military junta in recent months.

In October, the former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was sacked and placed under house arrest.

Military officers close to him are due to stand trial soon. Reports said the trials were due to start on Monday, but one source told the BBC Burmese service that they had been postponed due to Bo Win Tun's death.

Khin Nyunt headed Burma's now-disbanded National Intelligence Bureau. Since his ousting, dozens of army intelligence officers are thought to have been imprisoned.

Subordinates first

Subordinate officers and businessmen with links to intelligence personnel are expected to be the first prisoners on trial.

The trials will take place in specially convened courts inside the compound of Burma's notorious Insein jail.

Aung Zaw, the editor of Irrawaddy, a publication run by Burmese journalists in exile, said the cases of low- and mid-ranking officials were more straightforward than those of their seniors.

"No matter where they've been located and detained... the court martial can be hold in a very quick time... people won't pay much attention to it," he told the BBC News website.

The cases of Khin Nyunt and other high ranking officials were "more complicated", he said, because there had to be some kind of proper trial for them.

Khin Nyunt was ousted on 19 October by Than Shwe, head of the junta, in what was seen as a consolidation of his power.

Within days, the intelligence bureau, which gave officers loyal to Khin Nyunt widespread powers and benefits, was abolished.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific