Mon Group Offered Alternative to Border Guard Proposal
Tuesday, 14 July 2009 21:24
The Burmese army’s Southeast Regional Commander in Moulmein, Mon State, has suggested to the New Mon State Party (NMSP) that it should transform its armed wing into a militia group if it doesn’t want to take up border guard duties.
A NMSP spokesman at the party’s liaison office in Sangkalaburi, Thailand, said Maj-Gen Thet Naing Win made the proposal at a meeting with NMSP leaders in Moulmein on June 7.
The NMSP, like other armed ethnic groups, has been under pressure by the regime to reassign its armed wing into a border guard force. The party has been given until the end of July to reach a decision.
NMSP leaders will hold an urgent meeting on July 25 to decide whether to comply with the regime’s proposal, the spokesman said. He said, however, that the party would accept no proposal that put its armed forces under the command of the Burmese army. “Even if we transform our troops into a militia group, we also have to live under their command. So, we don’t accept this idea,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) has proposed to the junta that its armed wing should become a “State Security Force (SSF)” in Kachin State.
James Lun Dau, a KIO central committee member who lives in Thailand, said KIO leaders made the proposal at a meeting last week with the junta’s Northern Regional Commander, Maj-Gen Soe Win, in Myitkyina Township.
“It seems they are considering our proposal,” he said.
The KIO has not yet formally responded to the Burmese junta’s proposal to reassign its armed forces to border guard duties.
The regime is pressuring 17 ethnic ceasefire groups in Burma to transform themselves into border security guards before the 2010 election, setting an original deadline of June 30 for a decision.
Only the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army has so far reacted positively to the regime proposal. Several groups, including the United Wa State Army, Burma’s largest armed ethnic movement, have rejected it.
Some groups have told The Irrawaddy they don’t trust the military government by placing their troops under Burmese army command.
Before the June 30 deadline, Lt-Gen Ye Myint, secretary of the transformation committee for the border guard force, visited the Wa, Kokang and Mongla regions to promote the plan.
Analysts said that the junta is very cautious at the moment in handling the issue, aware that it’s dealing with well-armed forces. The Irrawaddy