UWSA denies it acquired armed helicopters from China

credit EMG

Myanmar’s ethnic armed group, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), has dismissed report from Janes Intelligence’s that it acquired five armed helicopters from China.

The news posted on the website, http://www.janes.com, said China delivered several Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium-transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa aermy in late February and early March. The WA received five helicopters but according to a source of the Myanmar government, only two were confirmed.

MI-17 helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles can deter Russia-made Mi-24P Hind jet fighters which the government used in its counter-insurgency operations against the Kachin Independence Organisation, Janes Intelligence website said.

But the news was not true and the Wa did not receive any assistance from China, San Khun from the foreign affairs department of the United Wa State Party told the Eleven Media Group.

He also refused to make any comments on the news about the rearmament of UWSA and China’s assistance.

“I don’t want to say any more as the news was not true, San Khun said.

Although the news sources are unconfirmed, the Wa has already acquired weaponry that any ethnic armed groups in Myanmar cannot expected over the last four years, political analyst living in the China-Myanmar border told the EMG.

“Regarding the recent news on purchasing warhead helicopters from China, the official from the UWSA hasn’t made any comments or confirmed when we asked,” Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

However, they could purchase those helicopters if they wish with the current budget, sources say.

“We don’t know whether military weapons, arms and equipment are being imported from China or Ukraine. They are imported via Maekong River from Laos? Sources said, last year, about two hundred trucks loads of arms and weapons were imported. The UWSA did not confirmed over the information leakage either. But It is confirmed that the UWSA has requested the government to allow for an airport project in Tangyan,” Aung Kyaw Zaw added.

The expanding of military power in UWSA shows the country’s unfinished conflicts between the government and ethnic armed forces.

“The government’s troops are not only battling with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) but also with Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA). Besides the government troops are also sometimes fighting with USWA based on the west of Thanlwin River. This is one of the facts for the USWA to beef up military power,” he added.

The UWSA is one of the armed forced army that did not accept to become a border guard force as demanded by the government. It is the strongest ethnic armed force in the country. It has more than 30,000 soldiers and modern weapons. It was the second secession group from Burma Communist Party (BCP). It confiscated the BCP’s headquarter on April 17, 1989. The BCP’s headquarter was located in Wa Region.

Since its inception, UWSP has declared to live peacefully together with the military, and built bilateral relations. At the time of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, UWSP signed a ceasefire agreement with the government, which later designated the Special Region (2) of Northern Shan State as ‘Wa’ region. Then, the UWSA had nearly 10,000 soldiers.

In 1993, representatives from UWSA attended the National Convention of the country, and they cooperated with other ethnic armed forces.

After General Khin Nyunt was expelled from his post in 2004, the Wa people had some arguments with the government. A year later, UWSA officially claimed they had stopped growing opium, but the international community believed their ‘Wa’ groups were still linked to drugs and opium. Continue reading “UWSA denies it acquired armed helicopters from China”

Wa considering Burma Army’s militia status

FRIDAY, 13 JULY 2012 12:48 S.H.A.N.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA) may currently be the strongest opposition armed movement, but its leadership is seriously considering whether it should accept a Burma Army run People’s Militia Force (PMF) status, according to insider sources.

The difference between a Border Guard Force (BGF), a status that Wa and other major armed groups had turned down in 2009, and a PMF is that where as a BGF is administered by Burma Army officers, a PMF is both commanded and run by native officers. Both BGFs and PMFs come under the supervision of the Burma Army’s PMF and BGF Directorate.

Bio Youxiang standing at the podium while Wa troops paraded on 17 April 2009. (Photo: bbs.kokang.net)

“We have been discussing it,” admitted one of the senior (not top) officials told SHAN. “But we have yet to come to the final decision.”

A report predicted 2015, the year of the next general elections, might also be the day of reckoning for the UWSA. Continue reading “Wa considering Burma Army’s militia status”

Wa, Shan to join ethnic army grouping

By NANG MYA NADI | 1 March 2012 | DVB

Two Shan state-based ethnic armies will be included in a “nationalities forces” setup being formulated by Burma’s armed opposition as negotiations with the government to broker a ceasefire continue.

Following a four-day meeting on the Thai-Burma, the 11-member United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) said groups like the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Shan State Army–South (SSA-S), which have so far snubbed invitations to join the umbrella group, would take part in joint “political dialogue” with the government once ceasefires have been agreed.

Also included will be the Mong La army and the armed Arakan Liberation Party, according to the UNFC’s secretary–2, Colonel Khun Okkar.

The exact nature of the dialogue is unclear, although it will likely be aimed at legitimising the presence of these groups and demarcating official territory. The UWSA, once the world’s biggest opium producer, has enjoyed cordial relations with the Burmese regime since signing a ceasefire in the early 1990s, although rejected requests to transform into a government-aligned border militia.

Members of the UNFC, which include the Karen National Union (KNU) and New Mon State Party (NMSP), have been engaged in ceasefire talks with Naypyidaw, with varying outcomes. The Mon army agreed to a tentative truce, but negotiations between the KNU and government have been marred by ongoing fighting in Karen state.

Moreover, the Kachin Independence Army, also part of the UNFC, appears to be reluctant to sign a ceasefire. Clashes continue to break out in the northern state.

Upon its formation in 2010 the UNFC established as its cornerstone policy unity among the 11 members, although that has largely failed to bear fruit. Parties to the grouping have approached ceasefire talks with the government individually, casting doubt on the real purpose of the body.

Khun Okkar said however that the groups will join together in what is being billed as the final stage of peace talks, that of dialogue with Naypyidaw over establishing the members as official political forces.

The administration of President Thein Sein has been keen to reach out to ethnic armies as part of its vaunted reform programme, although with animosity among minority populations towards the government running deep, and little sign of reform within the Burmese army, the likelihood of any lasting ceasefire is questionable.

The result of their re-employment( Chemists) with the Peopl. Militia Forces in Shan State East, the quality of heroin there has increased significantly

FRIDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2012 11:22 S.H.A.N.

One of unintended side effects of the Burma Army’s offensive against the Shan State Army (SSA) North as well as the Shan State Army (SSA) South campaign against Burma Army supported People’s Militia Forces (PMFs) last year was the displacement of refineries in Shan State South as well as skilled chemists working there, according to sources from Shan State East.



As a result of their re-employment with the PMFs in Shan State East, the quality of heroin there has increased significantly. “We used to say Markkieng and Nayai PMFs (in Namzang townships) produced #1 quality Kheptin (slippers, slang for heroin blocks) until a few monthly back,” one of businessmen in Monghsat to SHAN. “No more. The quality of Kheptin produced in Tang Hseng (in Monghsat township), Punako (also in Monghsat township) and Nampong (Tachilek township) has become just as high. Even the Wa recognize the fact.” 

The Burma Army, from March to August 2011, had launched an offensive against the SSA North that had refused to be transformed into a PMF. The offensive was reinforced by constructions of chain fortifications by the newly formed Central Eastern Region Command, the 4th regional army in Shan State.

The SSA South in the meanwhile had been warring against PMFs, particularly those that had actively taken part in the Burma Army’s campaigns against it. One outcome was the seizure of cooked opium, #3 heroin, precursors and paraphernalia used in the manufacturing of #4 heroin, at the main base of Wanpang PMF in Laikha township in December.

The result was the migration of refineries and chemists into Shan State East, where the SSA is less active.

“The Wa may still be #1 when it comes to Ice (crystal methamphetamine) and yaba (methamphetamine pills),” said another businessman coming from Kengtung. “But Lahu PMFs have now emerged as #1 in heroin.”

Poppy fields on the Thai border destroyed by Wa

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has reportedly been destroying many acres of poppy plantations in its controlled areas in Shan State East’s Mongton township, opposite Thailand’s Chiangmai province, saying anyone who complain about its action will be placed under custody, according to local sources.

“People therefore are afraid to show their dissatisfaction against their actions,” said one of the poppy farmers from the Mongton.
The destruction campaign was launched authorities from the UWSA’s 171st Military Region since early this month following the group’s signing of a new ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 6 September.

Between 2005 and 2009,   poppy fields were rarely seen in the UWSA controlled areas both on the Sino –Burma border and on the Thai-Burma border, after the group declared a drug free zone on 26 June 2005. The group has also been holding drug bonfire ceremony every year since in order to reaffirm its pledge to the world given in 2005, according to the UWSA.

A local farmer recalled, “Before its relations with the Burma Army deteriorated, the group destroyed the fields by pulling the plants out including the roots.” Continue reading “Poppy fields on the Thai border destroyed by Wa”

Wa, Mongla sign new ceasefire agreement


The two armed groups that had been at loggerheads with Burma Army over Naypyitaw’s Border Guard Force (BGF) program launched in 2009, United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) reportedly signed a new ceasefire agreement with the new civilianized government, according to highly-placed sources on the Sino-Burma border.


wa-signs(Photo: Kyaymon (The Mirror))

“The proposal looks fine, so we have signed it. Essentially, it is like the agreement we concluded in 1989,” said an officer from Mongla who was also in the recent meeting with the regime negotiators. 

The said proposal was presented when the two sides [armed groups and government’s negotiators] met in Kengtung, Shan State East capital following the government’s invitation letter to the groups [Mongla and UWSA] for peace talks. However the groups were invited to meet separately. Continue reading “Wa, Mongla sign new ceasefire agreement”

WAR: senior Wa official:“We will surrender only to China, if everything else fails”

15.July 2011

“We will surrender only to China, if everything else fails,” said a senior Wa official yesterday. “We got them from China and it’s only proper to return them to their original owner if we cannot make good use of them.” The response echoes to that made by the Shan State Army (SSA) South on 5 May 2010 when it said it would only surrender to Thailand as the last resort, and not to the Burma Army. (SHAN)

“In any case, recent move against the Wa and Mongla forces in Mongyawng (opposite Mongla-controlled territory) by the Burma Army was no more than a bluff,”

WEDNESDAY, 18 MAY 2011 14:16 S.H.A.N.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, son of the legendary Thirty Comrades’ still surviving member General Kyaw Zaw and himself a known authority on China, told SHAN yesterday the message that Gen Xu Caihou brought to Burma during his 4 day visit, 12-15 May, was a clear warning that China would not take kindly to a military conflict on the mutual border.

Mongla map

According to Xinhua, Xu, Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission, told Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann that there was “a need to handle well the complicated and sensitive issues related to security and stability” “in order to better maintain peace and stability” of their respective countries.

“In any case, recent move against the Wa and Mongla forces in Mongyawng (opposite Mongla-controlled territory) by the Burma Army was no more than a bluff,” Aung Kyaw Zaw, a resident of Ruili, opposite Burma’s Muse, added. “It would need more than 7 battalions it has there (under the command of Mong Phyak-based Military Operations Command#18) to attack the joint Wa-Mongla forces in Loi Pang Nao and Hsop Lwe.”

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, right, welcomes Xu Caihou, vice chairmen of the Communist Party committee at President Office in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. (AP Photo/MRTV)

On 27 April, Naypyitaw issued an ultimatum to both the Panghsang-based United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Mongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) to withdraw their forces from Loi Pang Nao and Mong Fan (Wa-Mongla stronghold south of Hsop Lwe, the mouth of the river Lwe that drains into the Mekong) by the end of the month.

Both had refused to comply with saying without an acceptable political settlement, there would be no back-down on the military front.

So far it is still unclear whether the bilateral talks in Naypyitaw also included current tensions with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the Shan State Army (SSA) North, in whose operational areas the projected oil and pipelines have been planned to go through from the Arakan coast to China’s Yunnan.

The SSA North, a group that operates west of the Salween, and the Burma Army have been fighting since 13 March when Naypyitaw terminated the 21 year old ceasefire pact with a military offensive reportedly code-named “Operation Zwe Man Hein”.

But in August 2009, when Kokang, another Wa ally and a group whose territory adjoins China, was attacked, China warned Naypyitaw to “properly deal with its domestic issues to safeguard regional stability” and to ensure safety and rights of Chinese citizens in Burma, according to AP.