Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shan ceasefire army putting out feelers

(S.H.A.N) - Taking a cue from its allies, Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the Hsipaw-based Shan State Army (SSA) “North” has been conducting public hearings to determine the opinion of its troops and their civilian supporters, according to a source close to the SSA leadership.

Maj-Gen Gaifa

Following the meeting with Lt-Gen Ye Myint, Naypyitaw’s chief negotiator, on 3 June, when they had asked him to defer the question of transforming itself into a border security force under the command of the Burma Army until after a future civilian government has been formed, the group’s second in command Maj-Gen Gaifa has been holding meetings with the officers and local people’s representatives:

10-11 June at Wanhai, Kehsi township, base of the First Brigade
13-14 June at Kali, Kunhing township, base of the Seventh Brigade

The majority of the participants was said to have roundly rejected the proposition.

“The question whether we should accept or not shouldn’t have been asked in the first place,” an officer was quoted as saying. “We took up the struggle, because our people’s wishes were not fulfilled. We are still resistance fighters as long as the people’s wishes remain unfulfilled, whether or not there is a ceasefire agreement.”

Another officer also said they would fight without waiting for orders from the SSA main base Hsengkeow “when the time comes.” “Clearly, Gaifa’s mission was doomed from the start,” he commented. “The outcome of the hearings has come to no surprise to me.”

The junta negotiators also appeared to be playing one group against another, a divide-and-rule tactic, he said. “We were surprised when Mongla called us and asked whether it was true that we had agreed to become a border security force, as they had heard it from the junta’s middlemen. We replied that was the same thing we had heard about Mongla, when we met Gen Ye Myint and his delegation.” (JEG's: SPDC putting the kids against each other... nice try Ricardito... nice try...)

At least 8 of the existing 13 ceasefire groups have already turned down the Border Guard Force idea, since it was introduced in April. According to a source on the border, Naypyitaw is already drafting a new proposal.

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