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Thousands Attend Funeral of Burma Rebel Leader


Thousands of people have paid their last respects to Burma's Bo Mya, a long-time leader of the country's largest rebel group.

Several thousand mourners gathered for the funeral Tuesday in Karen state near Burma's border with Thailand.

Bo Mya led the rebel Karen National Union in its fight against Burma's central government for several decades. He died Sunday at the age of 79 after suffering for years from diabetes and other illnesses.

Those who attended the funeral included friends and leaders of the rebel group, as well as a small delegation of Burmese and Thai military officers.

Bo Mya stepped down from his post in 2000 because of poor health, but remained an advisor to the rebel group.

Karen officials say Bo Mya's death is unlikely to have a significant impact on the group's fight for greater autonomy in eastern Burma.

The Karen National Union reached an informal peace agreement with Burma's military rulers in 2004, but an official deal was never signed. At least 17 other Burmese rebel groups have agreed to ceasefires with the government.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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