Wa could be junta diversion
by admin — last modified 2009-01-13 07:21
Despite a flurry of activities that have been seemingly directed against the Wa, the real objective of the Burma Army’s military preparations could be against the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) South, according to seasoned border watchers
One quoted a recent complaint made by a local Military Affairs Security (MAS) officer in Mongton, opposite Chiangmai: “We want them (the Wa) to fight against the SSA, but they are not interested. We want to finish them off, but our offensive will only result in pushing them to the SSA. The Chinese (believed to be patrons of the Wa) also don’t like the idea much.”
One senior border watcher agreed. “The SSA-UWSA alliance may also be able to jeopardize the upcoming 2010 elections especially in Shan State”, he said. “On the other hand, attacking the SSA, and not the UWSA, could prevent it from disrupting the elections.”
Col Yawdserk, leader of the SSA South, was not so sure about this. “However, he’s entitled to his opinions,” he said without elaboration.
The comments followed reports of a visit on the Thai-Burma border by Maj-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Chief of Bureau for Special Operations (BSO) #2, who oversees military operations in Shan State, on 11-12 January.
Among his reportedly 20-men entourage was Maj-Gen Mya Win, Chief of Directorate of Artillery. The visit also coincided with a report of 20 armored vehicles arriving in Monghsat, 42 miles east of Mongton. The Burma Army has also been hounding the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to allow it to establish a heavy weapons base near Hwe Aw, where the UWSA’s 171st Military Region is headquartered.
In the meantime, the pro-junta militia units are being re-organized on township basis, according to a local source. “For instance,” he said, “Tin Win of Maeken has become the head of all the militia units in Mongton township and Ja Pikoi of Nakawngmu his deputy. They have also been ordered to expand their bases, and to recruit and train.”
Min Aung Hlaing is expected in Mongla and Mongpawk on the Sino-Burma border today and tomorrow, according to a source from the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), officially known as Shan State Special Region #4. “We’re used to dealing with him since he was the regional commander in Kengtung until last year,” he said. “His style is a stick and carrot one, not only urging us to surrender but what the benefits will be for us if we surrender.”
The UWSA meanwhile has begun a year long cadet training in Longtang near Kunma, north of the Wa capital Panghsang. There are 180 cadets in all and the head of the training is none other than Bao Youliang, the Wa supreme leader Bao Youxiang’s younger brother.
The SSA South is also training nearly 1,000 recruits and 140 officers at their main base in Loi Taileng, opposite Maehongson province, according to a local security source.
On the political side, it has also formed an alliance with several non-Shan groups in Shan State in December, when a 7 member committee was formed to draft a charter acceptable to most of not all parties.
Min Aung Naing’s Mongton visit was preceded by a two-day tour by Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, Commander of Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command, 6-7 January.