Report: Myanmar's 'God's Army' Teen Rebel Leader Surrenders

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One of two twin brothers who led a small band of ethnic rebels calling themselves "God's Army" has turned himself in to Myanmar's military government, state radio and television reported Tuesday night.

Johnny Htoo and eight fellow members of the group left a refugee camp in Thailand earlier this month and surrendered with weapons in two separate groups on July 17 and 19 at the coastal region military command in southeastern Myanmar, said the reports.

Johnny and his brother Luther in the late 1990s were charismatic leaders of a small band of ethnic Karen Christian rebels in eastern Myanmar fighting the country's military regime. Devout Christians, they were reputed by followers to be invulnerable to bullets and land mines.

A photo of the twins, then aged about 12, showing a soulful looking Johnny with long hair, and Luther puffing on a cigarette, became an iconic image of child soldiers. The two are now about 18 years old.

They surrendered to Thai authorities in January 2001, and had been living in a refugee camp in Thailand.

The surrendering guerrillas were welcomed by local and regional authorities and provided necessary assistance, said the news report, which made no mention of Luther. Television showed what it said was a photo of the group's surrender.