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Karen Rebel Leader Johnny Htoo Surrenders to Burmese Government


Burma's state media is saying Johnny Htoo, one of two young twin brothers who led a small ethnic Karen guerrilla movement in Burma and Thailand, has surrendered to Burmese authorities.

Their group, called God's Army, was founded after Johnny and Luther Htoo rallied villagers to resist Burmese troops during a 1997 counterinsurgency in their ethnic Karen region in Burma. The twins were about 12 years old at the time.

Their followers believed Johnny and Luther had godlike powers and were immune to bullets and land mines.

God's Army gained international attention in 2000 when it took 200 people hostage at a hospital in western Thailand.

The twins surrendered to Thai authorities in 2001 and have been living in a refugee camp in Thailand ever since.

Burmese media said Johnny Htoo brought nine followers with him when he surrendered. Luther Htoo was not mentioned in the reports.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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