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Burma's reclusive military junta is moving key ministries to a secret location in the mountains and dense forest on the road to Mandalay, in what is believed to be a precaution against a US invasion.
The relocation from Rangoon of the Commerce, Foreign, Home Affairs and Telecommunications ministries to Pyinmana, about 320km north of the capital, began at the weekend.
There was no official announcement but a source in one department said the deputy minister and half the staff of each ministry were to move. Ministers were to stay in Rangoon.
Burma watchers have said the regime is making the move to ensure a better-fortified seat of government.
The junta is said to have considered moving the ministries about three years ago amid fears the capital, Rangoon, also known as Yangon, would be vulnerable to a US military strike.
Washington has branded Burma an "outpost of tyranny" because of its poor human rights record and continuing repression of democracy, including the detention of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
Burma won independence from Britain after World War II and enjoyed a brief period of democracy before the military seized power in 1962.
The army has run the country ever since, ignoring the results of a 1990 election it lost by a landslide.