Transformed Shan force given choice to revise its decision

The Shan State Army (SSA) North’s 7th Brigade that transformed itself into Burma Army-controlled Home Guard Force (HGF) was given the option to consider returning to the armed struggle if the group was unhappy, according to informed sources from Shan State South.

“The regional commander told the group to make a clear-cut decision whether it will be a unit under the army or return to the jungle,” a source close to the group said.

SSA North

The group was told by Commander of Taunggyi based Eastern Region Command Brig-Gen San Oo while he was on a trip to supervise security for Deputy Senior General Maung Aye and director of the Burma Army Artillery (unidentified) to inspect the sites in Mongzang, Monghsu township and Kunhing-Takaw motor road for setting up artillery bases on 30 November.

The commander said if the group decided to be one of the Burma Army’s subordinate units, it must fully obey the army’s directive; otherwise it is free to join its former sister unit, the 1st Brigade.

The group was reported to be still behaving like it used to be as an independent armed movement enjoying ceasefire agreement with the junta, local sources said.

Aung Than Htut

Sources have reported that many fighters of the group refused to put on militia uniforms provided by the Burma Army in late April even though they had transformed themselves into a home guard force, under the command of the Burma Army.

“The group also failed to persuade the 1st Brigade to become a militia unit as demanded by the former Northeastern Region Command commander Aung Than Htut,” a source said.

The 7th Brigade and 3rd Brigade transformed themselves into junta run home guard force in April. The 1st, which is regarded as the strongest SSA unit, with an estimated strength of 4,000, has refused to accept the demand. It had since October already fought 4 times against attacking Burma Army units. 


Student army- to join Karen fighting

A Burmese student army that rose to prominence following the 1988 uprising is preparing to fight alongside Karen troops in the volatile eastern state.

The decision was confirmed today by a senior official in the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) who asked to remain anonymous. The group, which at its peak had more than 10,000 troops, will join sides with a breakaway faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) as fighting against Burmese forces continues close to the Thai border.

A delegation from the ABSDF met with DKBA commander Na Kham Mwe shortly after 8 November, the official said, when the group took key government positions in Karen state’s Myawaddy. “We are ready to cooperate with Na Kham Mwe’s group which is fighting the [Burmese army],” he added.

Than Khe, chairperson of the ABSDF, said that the group, whose numbers have now significantly diminished since the mid-1990s, approved with Na Kham Mwe’s decision to defect from the pro-junta DKBA faction which has now become a government-backed Border Guard Force (BFG).

“We can support this motive because the timing is very good,” he told DVB. “At the same time the objective is also very meaningful: it shows the people that we do not accept the 2010 elections. We show our solidarity and support to him and those men who were fighting in Myawaddy.” Continue reading “Student army- to join Karen fighting”

New Political Challenges for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

December 5th, 2010

When Burma’s democracy icon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was released on November 13th, the election period was over.  Then, the unfair and unfree election results came out with a landslide victory for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the proxy party of Burmese Army.

The Burmese military regime has ensured that its rule becomes legitimized through the elections.  It has also tried to show both Burmese citizens, and the international community, that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer important for a leadership role in the military orchestrated elections and political transitions.

‘National Reconciliation’ is vital for the current political situation in Burma.  It needs to happen even before ‘democratization’ can occur, especially as these two issues are interrelated. While there are thousands of political prisoners in jails, and fighting is constant among the ethnic minorities at the border, there will be no democracy.  In order to solve these problems, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must call for a release of all political prisoners and for the start of political discussions between Burmese politicians and ethnic political leaders. Continue reading “New Political Challenges for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi”