Friday, July 24, 2009

Commanders meet to discuss operation against rebels

By Hseng Khio Fah

(Shanland) -Battalion commanders under the Mongnawng based Military Operations Command (MOC) #2 in Shan State South were reported to have met recently to launch a military offensive against the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’ after dozens of its soldiers and weapons were lost to the SSA on 15 July, local sources said.

On 20 July, battalions commanders based in Kehsi, Mongkeung and Laikha townships met in Mongnawng. The meeting, presided over by the MOC commander Col Kyaw Zan Myint, discussed preparations for a military offensive against the SSA, said an informed resource.

6 battalions would be employed in the planned operation after many of its soldiers from LIB#515 were killed, he said.

However, there has been no further information of supporting units in the operation and the main target.

There are 12 battalions under the MOC#2 command, Loilem based IB#9, and #12, Laikha based IB#64 and LIB#515, Namzang based IB#66 , #247 and LIB#516, Mongnai based IB#248 and LIB#518, Panglong based LIB#513, Mongkeung based LIB#514 and Mongpawn based LIB#517. At least 156 soldiers from each battalion are expected to join the operation.

During the clash on 15 July in Kehsi Township, the Burma Army lost 11, one was captured and 5 assorted weapons were seized by the attackers while 14 others escaped with serious injuries. However, of those who got away 8 more reportedly died on the way back.

A border analyst says that “local militias are almost certain to be used in the operation.” In the mean time, hundreds of youths from rural areas in Lashio Township, northern Shan State, are also being recruited by junta-backed local militia forces for the Army since early June and some 200 were already sent to Pyinmana near the new capital Naypyitaw, according to SHAN report on 22 July.

On 21 July, another clash between the two sides reportedly took place between Wan pang and Nawngka villages, Laikha township. The SSA said it has yet to receive detailed information but the clash was confirmed, according to a senior officer from the Loi Taileng base.

Since 21 May (Shan Resistance Day), the SSA had killed more than 30 soldiers and seized more than 20 weapons of the Burma Army, according to the SSA.

On the other hand, the Burma Army in Shan State is also said to be preparing for a military showdown with either the SSA South or the ceasefire armies including the United Wa State Army (UWSA) with which it has been on an increasingly sour relationship since last year.

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