TUESDAY, 23 JUNE 2009 19:42 HSENG KHIO FAH
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) leaders reportedly coming from Panghsang in 18 four-wheel cars had arrived in Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai province yesterday to hold meetings with their officers and men to discuss about its deteriorating relations with the Burma Army, according to sources on the Thai-Burma border.
The group arrived in Hwe Aw, 25 miles north of the Chiangmai border, in the morning and held a meeting there. But there has been no further information of who were at the meeting, but it is believed to involve some top officers in their southern command, said a source.
“Today, they [Wa] met at Namyoom (5 miles north of the border) and they are going to Mongjawd, west of Hwe Aw tomorrow,” he said.
Since the Burma Army ordered them to return to its original area on the Sino-Burma border in May, the Wa have been in preparation for their defense in many areas like Loi Hsarmhsoom Base, Base 46 and Maihoong between Mongyawn and Piangkham, opposite Chiangmai’s Mae Ai district.
An unidentified Wa divisional commander said, “Relations between us is like an axe without the handle and vice versa. Like the handle, they used to manipulate us, the axe, in the past. But they can no longer enjoy that privilege.” In the meantime, the Burma Army has also reportedly been sending more troops to Pianghsa –Piangkham and every base opposite that of the Wa. In addition, it has also been training all militia units in Mongton and Monghsat townships from 21 June.
“There were 15 Shan men forced to join the militia units in Nakawngmu,” a local resident said. As for veteran members of Kyapikwe and Tin Win militias, they are being trained in Mongton, the township seat.
There are three strong militia units trained by the Burma Army in Monghsat alone: Loi Tanghseng group led by Kya Hey, Loi Hsao group led by Kya Kaw and Kyadey group led by Ya Der. There is also an 80-men Nampong group led by Yishay in Tachilek township.
“The things they [junta] can seize from us are what we have established in towns. Nothing more,” a source quoted the Wa officer as saying.
A border watcher said the three day visit of Sri Lankan President to Burma earlier this month seemed to have stimulated the junta to copy the winning strategy of the Sri Lankan Army against the Tamil Tigers.
The Tamil Tigers announced its defeat on 17 May, after Colombo’s all-out offensive involving naval blockade and massive bombings and air strikes which resulted in devastating civilian casualties.