Thursday, May 14, 2009

Junta training militias in another name

By Khun Aung Kham

Shanland - Local authorities in Mong Ko village tract, Tachilek Township, Eastern Shan State, opposite Maesai, are ordering villagers to serve either in the fire brigade or in the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), but were actually giving militia training to those who choose to join fire brigades, according to sources from border.

“The chairman of our village track said the order came from above. One person per house has to join either the fire brigade or USDA. Now they are giving training in the football field of Mong Ko village tract,” said a 40 year old woman.

The first batch of about 50 villagers has been trained and they are now training the second batch, according to local villagers.

The formation of villagers into fire fighters or USDA members is a new strategy in order to secure more support for their election, said Kya Bolong, Chairman of LaHu Democratic Union (LDU).

“They are persuading people by giving them incentives such as issuing Identity cards at cheap price if they join the USDA. Because most of the villagers have no ID cards, many are interested in joining it,” he added.

There are 56 villages in Mong Ko village tract, and most of villagers are Shan and Lahu. The area of Mong Ko tract stretches from the outskirts of Tachilek Township to the outskirts of Talerh Township, 29 miles farther north.

Similarly, people in Nam Kham Township, Northern Shan State, are undergoing militia trainings after being told to join fine brigades. So far, Junta authorities have completed three batches.

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