Monday, August 31, 2009

An ‘Evening with Rohingya People’

KPN - An ‘Evening with Rohingya People’ was an event organized by the London based Burmese Rohingya community with the help of the Burma Campaign UK to share the dilemma of the Rohingya and discuss other Burmese multi-ethnic conflict topics on August 27, at 28 Charles Square London, said Tun Khin, the president of Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK).

An Evening With Rohingya People

READ MORE---> An ‘Evening with Rohingya People’...

Kokang campaign still on

Shanland - Despite victory over rebellious Kokang army announced yesterday through state-run media, the Burma Army has yet to slow down its war machine, reported sources from Shan State.

People in Muse, opposite China’s Ruili, and northwest of Kokang, were still being snatched by the official porter collectors yesterday and in Lashio, the capital of Shan State North, southwest of Kokang, civilian trucks were still in demand.

The Burma Army is proceeding with a mopping-up operation against isolated Kokang fighters who are still putting up a guerrilla resistance in the 22,000 territory, according to a source on the Sino-Burma border. Up to 30% of the original Kokang force (estimated strength, 800) loyal to the deposed leader Peng Jiasheng are believed to be still on Burma’s side of the border.

On the Thai-Burma border, militia units placed under full alert two days ago have been allowed to relax. “Civilian trucks requisitioned by the Army in Monghsat (opposite Thailand’s Mae Ai) have also been permitted to return home,” reported a local.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s Thai-border based 171st Military Region, comprising 5 brigades, under the command of Wei Xuegang, however, have yet to come down from their mountain bases. “Unlike in the past, when Wa trucks passed by Burma Army checkpoints without being searched, they are now being subjected to thorough going-overs,” said another local source.

On the other hand, sources in eastern Shan State are betting that the next target for the Burma Army should be Mongla, the UWSA’s southern neighbor and ally. Kokang that fell on 29 August is the Wa’s northern neighbor and ally.

Even Mongla, 80 km northeast of Shan State East’s capital Kengtung, has become edgy, according to them.

Yesterday, some 470 Burmans working or seeking work in Mongla were rounded up by the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) officials, loaded in trucks and dumped at Taping, the Lwe crossing that marks as the border between the NDAA and Burma Army controlled areas. “We used to have about 100 people working here,” explained one of the officials, on condition of anonymity. “But the number had jumped up to over 400 in a matter of weeks. We believe many of them, not all, must be spies.”

The Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, that has been fighting against Naypyitaw, meanwhile is yet to issue any official statements on the latest developments in Burma. “We are still closely following the developments,” said one of the senior officers.

One Thai border source reported that the UWSA has begun liaising with the SSA South. “There has been no such thing as yet,” replied the same SSA source.

Tension between the ceasefire groups and the ruling military junta has been growing since April when the former were demanded to transform themselves into Burma Army run Border Guard Forces.

READ MORE---> Kokang campaign still on...

The fall of Kokang raises questions

Shanland - After three days of heavy fighting, 27-29 August, the bulk of the anti-Naypyitaw Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the name given to their armed force by the Kokang, moved yesterday into China where they were disarmed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The biggest question raised by the fall of Qingsuihe (Chinshwehaw), opposite Namteuk (Namtit), where the Kokang’s strongest ally United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s 318th Division is headquartered, may be: What were the Wa doing when the Kokang were being attacked at Qingsuihe?

At first, both the Wa and other sources reported that at least 500 UWSA fighters had been deployed to assist the embattled Kokang. However, on the 29 August evening, the Wa source told SHAN Qingsuihe had fallen, as the UWSA had decided only to make a stand along the Namting that forms as a boundary between Wa and Kokang territories in order to prevent any spillovers from the fighting.

What happened to the ‘all for one and one for all’ agreement reached earlier among the Wa, Kokang and Mongla? SHAN asked. But Panghsang has yet to answer the question, which has naturally prompted more questions:

• How strong is the Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), now that it has done practically nothing against the Burma Army’s attack on Kokang?

• Now that the UWSA has allowed Kokang its northern ally to go, is it ready to let go other allies, namely the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ in the west and Mongla aka National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA) too?

• Does it think the UWSA will be able to make a lone stand against the Burma Army, after its allies have gone?

• What was China’s role in the Kokang debacle? Has the UWSA been advised that the Burma Army will not be allowed to make further attacks against it and its remaining allies?

Kokang’s deposed leader Peng Jiasheng has also voiced similar doubts in his special statement issued late in the evening of 28 August, a day before Qingsuihe’s fall:

• We have vowed that we would together overthrow the common enemy, the ruling military dictatorship clique. I request that we put our vow into practice starting today.

• If the Kokang force has been swallowed, the other allies armed forces will also be swallowed not long after. We therefore request you to counter attack the SPDC forces starting today.

Another big question arose when a report by a usually reliable source said that the mutiny in early August against Kokang’s supreme leader Peng Jiasheng was masterminded by a Liu Guoxi, a disgruntled member of the Kokang leadership, in cooperation with the deputy police of Burma.

With details lacking, SHAN as yet has no way to confirm the report, though Liu has been known in the past to be a colleague of Mong Hsala, the leader of now defunct Mongkoe Defense Army (MDA). MDA went into oblivion and its top leaders either jailed or executed in 2000 by the Burma Army during a mutiny against Mong Hsala.

Granted that the report is true, questions arise:

• Are there more Liu Guoxis among the ranks of the UWSA and its allied armies?

• Is the Burma Army in cahoots with them?

• Wei Xuegang, Commander of the UWSA’s Thai-border based 171st Military Region, is said to be close to Prime Minister Thein Sein. How close are they?

At present, the questions are hard to answer.

But investigations by the media and concerned agencies in the next few weeks will find whether the ideal goal of forming a grand alliance against the hated military regime is too late or can still be a dream come true.

READ MORE---> The fall of Kokang raises questions...

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