Mongla celebrates Shan New Year in defiance

THURSDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2009 16:45 S.H.A.N.

Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), led by Sai Leun, one of the 6 ceasefire groups that have been at loggerheads with Naypyitaw over the Burma Army run Border Guard Force (BGF) proposal, took a last minute decision to celebrate the Sha New Year which fell on 17 November, according to sources coming to the Thai-Burma border.

The celebrations held on 16-17 November in Mongla were presided over by Sai Leun’s chief Shan consultant Khun Myint and his deputy Hsan Per and participated by thousands of people, both Shans and non-Shans alike, from the surrounding areas.

“At first, they thought with all the problems with the Burma Army they didn’t have anytime for festival,” explained a businessman close to the leadership. “But then they realized if they just the New Year go, they would only be playing themselves into the Burma Army’s hands.”

Panghsang, the Wa capital, had also marked the Shan New Year “but not as swell as Mongla,” said a resident there.

The six ceasefire groups that are still refusing to transform themselves into Border Guard Forces without gaining the right to autonomy over their own local affairs are Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’, United Wa State Army (UWSA), Mongla, Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) and New Mon State Pary (NMSP).

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