Monday, July 13, 2009

Regime scheming to cut loose support for Wa

S.H.A.N- Failing to make major ceasefire groups led by the Wa to accept the junta officers run border security force proposal, Burma’s ruling generals are resorting to divide and conquer methods, according to informed sources both on the Chinese and Thai border.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (Kokang) reached a ceasefire pact with the junta on 21 March 1989, the United Wa State Army on 9 May 1989 and the NDAA on 30 June 1989.

On 8 July, yet another visit to Mongla, the headquarters of the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), was made by Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, Commander of Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command. He was said to have informed the recent acceptance by the National Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK), a member of the 4-party alliance Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), whose other members include Kokang, Wa and Mongla. “You did not conclude truce with us on the same day,” he was quoted as saying. “Why should you want to make decisions (on our demands) on the same day?”

“Besides, the Wa have a bad reputation as a drug-running organization,” he added. “It would be better if you stayed away from them.”

He then outlined a new schedule for the NDAA:

• Presentation of the group’s inventory by the end of July
• Final summing up by Naypyidaw in August
• Start of re-training and re-organization of the ceasefire forces by Burma Army instructors in September

Sai Leun, the leader of NDAA, replied that he would still have to consult not only his allies but also the troops and the people under his leadership before deciding whether to agree or disagree with Naypyidaw’s new ultimatum.

A Wa source confirmed this morning that there have been no new proposals or visits coming from the generals to Panghsang. “There are reports that they have been doing their own sounding out of the people in Markmang (Metman in Burmese, a Wa majority township southwest of Panghsang under the control of Burma Army since 1980),” he said, “asking them whether they would like to live under the Wa leadership. ‘We have allowed you to do everything you want, like growing poppies, didn’t we? Now you know how people in Panghsang are going through difficult times since the opium ban (in 2005). We don’t think you will prefer the same situation for yourselves.’”

Markmang has been designated by the junta-approved constitution as one of the six townships in the Wa Self-Administered Region.

According to sources on the Thai-Burma border, both Thai and local, the Burma Army has also been urging the UWSA’s 171st Military Region with 5 “divisions” commanded by Wei Xuegang to make a separate decision and accept the transformation into a junta militia. The resulting confusion had led to an emergency meeting of Wa officers at Hwe Aw, the base of the 171st, 21 miles north of the Chiangmai border on 8 July. “They debated late into the night and departed only on the next morning,” said a source close to the Wa. “It seems that they have decided to remain under Panghsang (the Wa capital on the Sino-Burma border) at least throughout 2009.”

Failing to move the ceasefire armies to surrender, Naypyidaw, in April, had proposed that they instead transform themselves into 326 strong Border Guard Forces, ostensibly commanded by ceasefire officers but actually run by 30-Burma Army officers to be attached to each unit.

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