the most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand."The massacre of monks and protesters has been hidden from the world for the last few days as the government has cut phone and internet services. Refugees are now virtually the only source of news.
At his border hideout last night, 42-year-old Mr Win said he hopes to cross into Thailand and seek asylum at the Norwegian Embassy.
The 42-year-old chief of military intelligence in Rangoon's northern region, added: "I decided to desert when I was ordered to raid two monasteries and force several hundred monks onto trucks.
"They were to be killed and their bodies dumped deep inside the jungle. I refused to participate in this."
Reports from exiles along the frontier confirmed that hundreds of monks had simply "disappeared" as 20,000 troops swarmed around Rangoon yesterday to prevent further demonstrations by religious groups and civilians.According to Swedish diplomat Liselotte Agerlid,
Word reaching dissidents hiding out on the border suggested that as well as executions, some 2,000 monks are being held in the notorious Insein Prison or in university rooms which have been turned into cells.
There were reports that many were savagely beaten at a sports ground on the outskirts of Rangoon, where they were heard crying for help.
Others who had failed to escape disguised as civilians were locked in their bloodstained temples.
the Burmese people now face possibly decades of repression. "The Burma revolt is over," she added.Although international agencies have not managed to provide any protection for the pro-democracy advocates in the nation formerly known as Burma, the UN is seeking a meeting with the rulers.
"Now the military has cracked down the revolt, and the result may very well be that the regime will enjoy another 20 years of silence, ruling by fear."
"We were informed from one of the largest embassies in Burma that 40 monks in the Insein prison were beaten to death today and subsequently burned."
The diplomat also said that three monasteries were raided yesterday afternoon and are now totally abandoned.
The United Nations special envoy was in Burma's new capital today seeking meetings with the ruling military junta.And a fat lot of good it's gonna do.
Ibrahim Gambari met detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon yesterday. But he has yet to meet the country's senior generals as he attempts to halt violence against monks and pro-democracy activists.
It is anticipated the meeting will happen tomorrow.