Under the great heading ‘Alms for Arms?’ today’s Democratic Voice of Burma uses the above image, which one imagines will become rather infamous. The text that follows states:
‘Alms for Arms?
The Burmese army offers combat training to local Red Shan villages and Buddhist monks in Kachin State to ‘protect’ themselves from KIA harassment.’
On 14 February, Sai Sang Wai of the Shan Ethnic Affairs Organisation denied that this picture was in fact of fully ordained monastics:
‘It was absolutely not military training for monks – I assume they were novices, temporary monks, and not from Talawgyi […] The novices are like that – they’d also jump on motorbikes,” he said. “What they did was inappropriate as it can tarnish the image of the Buddhist religion.’
More reaction can be found in the Democratic Voice of Burma.