Monday, June 8, 2009

Another Ceasefire Group Rejects Border Guards Proposal

The Irrawaddy News

Another Burmese ceasefire group has rejected a government order to reassign its troops as border guards.

The Kokang group, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), based on the Sino-Burmese border, reportedly told the Naypyidaw regime it couldn’t accept the proposal in its present form and would wait until after the 2010 election and the formation of a new government before making a final decision.

The junta is pressuring ceasefire groups, especially those based on the Sino-Burmese border, such as Kokang, Kachin and Wa, to assign their troops for service as border guards under the joint-command of the Burmese Army. The Wa’s United Wa State Army (UWSA) rejected the proposal in May.

According to sources at the Sino-Burmese border, the MNDAA, led by famed warlord Jiasheng (Burmese: Phon Kyar Shin) and based in the border town of Laogai, told the junta that it isn’t yet ready to decide on the proposal.

Kokang leaders met Burmese Military Affairs Security Chief Lt-Gen Ye Myint on June 4 in Laogai. Sources said they told Ye Myint a decision would be taken after next year’s election and the formation of a new government.

According to the source, Ye Myint went on to meet UWSA leaders in Pangsan, on June 6.

Ye Myint is now at former casino hub Monglar, in the Golden Triangle area, and expected to meet leaders from the Monglar ceasefire group, the National Democratic Alliance Army, led by Sai Leun (aka Lin Mingxian).

The UWSA has an estimated 20,000 soldiers, the NDAA 1,200 and the MNDAA 600.

Sources speculated that the Wa and Kokang groups probably rejected the government proposal because they did not want to be subservient to Burmese command.

According to the Burmese regime’s guidelines, each border guard battalion would consist of 326 troops, including 30 from the Burmese army, of whom three would be Burmese officers with administrative positions.

The Wa and Kokang stand is not expected to lead to any confrontation with the regime, according to sources, because of the heavy pressure it faces from the international community over the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Seventeen insurgent groups have signed ceasefire agreements with the ruling generals since 1989, according to official Burmese reports.

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