New Mon splinter group delivers letters demanding money

Mon 13 Jul 2009, IMNA,
A new Mon splinter group has been demanding money from villages in Ye Township in southern Mon state, financial support promotion of their armed group. The group was founded last June, calling itself ‘Rehmonnya’, and has been active in the Thai-Burma border area.

Rehmonnya has requested financial support from every village in Ye Township In the letters of request, villagers are not given a specific amount to provide, rather the Rehmonnya group is depending on the good will of the people, according to Nai Khin Maung, who is the Major-General of Rehmonnya.

“That’s right, we are demanding money from Ye townships villages. However we are not putting pressure on them, and amounts are depending on their own desires. We need money to buy guns and for promoting our activities”, Nai Khin Maung said in a phone interview with IMNA.

The recent requests for money, is a different tactic compared to previous Rehmonnya funding efforts. Nai Khin Maung, who was a former New Mon State Party (NMSP) soldier and member of the Brigade No. 3 village militia, conducted a raid in June on Brigade No. 3 village kidnapping two retired village headmen.The headmen were only released after their families paid a ransom 50,000 baht. He has also demanded the village pay 100,000 bhat, and laid claim to a farm, seeking 100,000 bhat as compensation in a purported miss-sale of the property. Nai Than Shwe who is a Rehmonnya Company Sergeant, has lead the group that has been making the requests for money in Ye Township. The group has been delivering official letters, signed and bearing Rehmonnya’s mark, to the village headman of Lamine, Toung bone, Thaungpyin Kawdood and others village’ in Ye Township the beginning of June.

According to a Monk from a village (name is withheld for security reasons), after receiving the letter from Rehmonnya, the village gave 20,000,000 million kyats to Rehmonnya. The letter explained that the money is used as financial support, and to cover the cost of buying guns.

The monk who has received letters from other villages explained, “It depends on the villages, some villages Rehmonnya asks for 30 million kyats and in other villages they ask for 20 million kyats.”

While Rehmonnya has been remarkable in the brazenness of its past operations so close to NMSP troop garrisons, the resent letter sending has not gone unnoticed by local authorities. The letter sending campaign throughout Ye Township has attracted the attention of the Burmese army who received one of the letters, prompting forces from LIB No. 106 to tighten security around Ye township.

A villager from Ye Township said, “The Burmese army got letter from villagers and now they tighten security in every village in Ye township.”

According to its leader, Nai Khin Maung, Rehmonnya’s fighting force is at least 200 strong, with 70 soldiers operating in Ye township. It is not yet clear what effect the Rehmonnya group will have in the area, and thus far there have been no reports of Rehmonnya forces engaging either the Burmese army or NMSP forces.

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