WAR:Wa fighters shot by Burma Army, killing one

THURSDAY, 12 MAY 2011 16:49 HSENG KHIO FAH

Five Wa fighters of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) 171st Military Region based along Thai-Burma border, who came in a four-wheel truck, were reportedly attacked by Burma Army soldiers leaving one dead and the truck damaged, according to sources.

The said Wa fighters were said to be heading to Mongjawd from their Loi Mon base in Monghta where Naypyitaw had recently set up a new sub-township of Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai province.

“The incident took place on 5 May in the morning. It was the handiwork of a Burma Army unit active in the area, but we were not able to identify what battalion it was,” said a local villager.

Burma Army troops known to be active in the area are Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 519 and Infantry Battalion (IB) 225 under the command of Pongpakhem Operations commander.

“On the next day, the operations commander was transferred to another area after the Wa side complained to higher ranking officers,” a source said.

The issue was resolved after the Burma Army made an official apology, the source added. “Last year, on October 20, 3 of its men were also killed by LIB 519 in Maeken. The problem was solved in the similar way.”

Regarding to these “happy endings,”, a Thai-Burma border watcher commented that the reason that the Wa are yielding to the Burma Army easily is because it doesn’t want to enter a war and it also wants to hold talks with the new president Thein Sein.

“Otherwise they would have got even with the Burma Army,” he said.

A few days ago, Panghsang, headquarters of the UWSA, has reportedly sent a belated letter of felicitations to Thein Sein for his efforts to end up corruption and to build regional stability. The letter also expressed hopes of holding talks again, according to sources.

war:Wa, Mongla: No more Mr Nice Guy

TUESDAY, 03 MAY 2011 14:24 S.H.A.N.
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The Wa may be the strongest, both in manpower and money power. But it is also true that, since 2009, when the tension that grew out of its refusal to adopt Naypyitaw’s “one country, one military” program, it has steadfastly dodged every chance to accept the Burma Army’s call for a showdown.

Map of Mongla

What could be plainer than its lukewarm response to the call to come to the rescue of Kokang, one of its sworn allies, when it was attacked by the Burma Army in August 2009. Internally divided and choosing to fight an ill-advised positional warfare, the 2,200 square kilometer former princely state fell after 3-days. Its southern neighbor Wa bore the loss of its northern flank quietly and just as quietly beefed up its defenses along the northern boundary.

Then, in March this year, came the offensive against the Shan State Army (SSA) North that protected its western flank along the Salween. The group, shorn of its internal factionalism and choosing to fight a guerrilla war, fought well and after one and a half months still far from beaten. However, again, Panghsang, the Wa headquarters, failed to come up with the expected assistance, leaving the 3,000 strong group to fight alone. Quietly assisted by the non-ceasefire SSA ‘South’, it has survived but lost all the key Salween crossings to the Burma Army.

Encouraged and impatient, Naypyitaw has now called the Wa to withdraw all of its forces in Mongla, the Wa’s remaining southern flank and outlet to the Mekong and the rest of the world, if its eastern border with China is not counted.

It seems abundantly clear, if the Wa continues to practise its hands off policy, it will end up with hostile territories on all sides except perhaps China.

Nobody knows this better than Panghsang that has dispatched more than 1,000 of its fighters from the Mongpawk-based 468th Brigade after 2009 to Mongla.

The joint Wa-Mongla forces have been fortifying Mawn Pang Nao, the 8542ft mountain, and Mong Fan near the Mekong, without which Mongla and Hsop Lwe, the mouth of the river Lwe that flows into the Mekong, would be at the Burma Army’s mercy.

On 28 April, Naypyitaw ordered both Panghsang and Mongla to pull out from their outlying bases, which were interpreted as Mawn Pang Nao and Mong Fan.

Interviewed by the BBC, a Wa officer replied that Panghsang had already complied with Naypyitaw’s order. However, other sources confirmed there was no such move. One source close to the Wa military even said the United Wa State Army (UWSA) had sent more reinforcement to the two key bases. Earlier, one Wa officer told SHAN, “Areas under Mongla are more important to the Wa (survival) than to Mongla.”

So far, Mongla has withdrawn from two bases south of Mong Fan: Wan Kho and Pong Hiet. Continue reading “war:Wa, Mongla: No more Mr Nice Guy”

Wa, Mongla given another ultimatum to pull out from outlying bases

FRIDAY, 29 APRIL 2011 15:36 HSENG KHIO FAH

The United Wa State Army and its ally National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) aka Mongla, were informed by the Burma Army yesterday, 28 April, to withdraw from their bases outside designated territories by tomorrow, 30 April, according to informed sources from the Sino-Burma border.

The messages were informed by phone calls by separate regional commands: The order to Panghsang came from G1 Tun Tun Nyi, Lashio, Northeastern Region Command, while Mongla was informed by G1, Kengtung, Triangle Region Command.

“If we don’t withdraw those bases by the given deadline, they said they would attack us at anytime they wanted,” said a source close to the Mongla leadership.

The Burma Army reportedly charged them of violating their 1989 agreement that they would not make recruitments or expand their territories.

At the time of reporting, the Wa are still holding an emergency meeting to discuss the ultimatum.

A Wa officer said, “We are against war. We want to live in peace. But if the Burmese Army wants to fight, we are also prepared for the worst.”

The NDAA meanwhile has already withdrawn from two of its strategic bases in Wan Kho and Pong Hiet in Shan State East’s Mongyawng township along the west bank  of the Mekong. Wan Kho base was taken by the Burma Army on 27 April. And NDAA troops in Pong Hiet were reported to have pulled out yesterday.

“The Burma Army soldiers came with a hundred men and encircled the group in the morning. No shot was fired. The group left the area in the evening,” said a Burma Army backed militia source. “Burma Army soldiers from Mongphyak based Infantry Battalion (LIB) 573 has taken over.”

Yet the group is expected to be forced to move out from its bases in Mongfan, north of Wan Kho and Pong Hiet bases. Pong Hiet base is north of the Hsop Yawng and south of the Hsop Lwe (Mouth of the Lwe) where UWSA’s troops are also active.

Some observers commented if the Burma Army could take all the bases south of Hsop Lwe, it would be easy to force the Wa and NDAA to withdraw from Hsop Lwe too.

“Then the Wa and NDAA’s Mekong outlet would be closed off and they would be left to the mercy of the Burma Army,” said a border watcher.

Wa issue appeal to new government for a political dialogue

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The United Wa State Party (UWSP), the political wing of the strongest ethnic armed group, says that it wants to begin a political dialogue with the new Burmese government.

A member of the UWSP central committee told Mizzima the group is ready to talk, but it does not know how their proposal will be received.

On February 5,  UWSP chairman Bao Yu Xiang sent felicitations to newly elected President Thein Sein. In the message, Bao Yu Xiang urged him to work to end the armed conflicts in the country.

However, Bao Yu Xiang said, ‘In the past, they wore military uniforms. Now, they wear Burmese traditional turbans in the Parliament. That’s all they changed’.

The UWSA has more than 30,000 troops, according to observers. During the UWSP’s party conference in March, chairman Bao Yu Xiang said that the group had the capaciy to defend its territory and would not give up even one inch of land.

He said he believed that when Jia Qinglin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, recently met with President Thein Sein, they talked about Sino-Burmese border security issues. In the past, China has called for a peaceful resolution to the disputes between ethnic groups and the central government.

In the past year, both the Wa and Burmese government troops have been preparing for possible clashes.

Wa, Mongla grill junta on Shan offensive

WEDNESDAY, 23 MARCH 2011 13:11 S.H.A.N.

Both the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) had questioned junta officials yesterday on the Burma Army offensive against their ally Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ that began on 13 March, according to reports coming from Sino-Burma border.

“We are supposed to resolve our problems through political means, not by force of arms,” one Mongla official was quoted as telling the Burmese delegation returning from seeing off their Chinese counterparts at Daluo following a quarterly border committee meeting in Kengtung. (The road from Kengtung to Daluo passes through Mongla, the NDAA’s main base). “The G1 (Staff Officer Grade1) was unable to come up with an answer.”

Meanwhile, Burmese officials who were seeing off their Chinese counterparts in Panghsang, the Wa capital, following a one-day meeting in Tangyan, were also quizzed by the Wa leadership with the same question.

“The Burmese delegation led by Tun Tun Nyi had replied they had ordered the SSA to move all their units to their main base Wanhai, but the SSA had not complied, which had led to clashes between the two,” said a source close to the leadership. Continue reading “Wa, Mongla grill junta on Shan offensive”

Wa, Shan disclaim responsibility for shelling junta border base

TUESDAY, 22 FEBRUARY 2011 17:28 S.H.A.N.
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Plan for the inauguration of the new sub-township in Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai’s Wiang Haeng district, today has been postponed following shelling by an unknown armed group on Friday night (18 February), according to sources from the border.

The shelling between 21:00-22:00 local time had killed and injured an unspecified number of Burma Army soldiers.

The United Wa State Army’s 171st Military Region, whose transport line between 772nd Brigade in Mongjawd in the east and 778th Brigade in Khailong in the west, has been threatened by the Burma Army base in the middle, has denied any responsibility outright.

The other belligerent the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, whose main base Loi Taileng lies further west was also vehement in its denial. “It’s not our communication links that have been severed,” responded Lt-Gen Yawdserk, the SSA South leader, to SHAN’s query. “We are in no urgency to attack it.”

The Monghta sub-township which came into being last month used to be part of the stronghold of the Mong Tai Army (MTA), the SSA South’s predecessor, until 1996 when its leader Khun Sa surrendered.

Junta authorities have invited people far and near to resettle in Monghta, 44 km north of Wiang Haeng border, offering privileges such as “permission to grow anything without official interference for 6 years”, according to one of informed source.

Monghta will also serve as a railroad link between Mongpan, west of the Salween, and Mongton, east of the Salween, according to an unconfirmed report.

 

Yawdserk: Junta targeting Thai border Wa

TUESDAY, 04 JANUARY 2011 11:21 S.H.A.N.
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Lt-Gen Yawdserk, leader of the non-ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’, told SHAN yesterday the Burma Army is gearing up for a showdown with the United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s 171st Military Region on the Thai-Burma border.

“The recent setting up of a new command in Kholam is part of the ongoing preparations,” he said.

Kholam is located 105 miles (168km) east of Shan State capital Taunggyi, halfway between Namzang and Kunhing.

Wei Xueyun, Deputy Commander, 171st Military Region

Until late last year, it was part of Namzang township. However, following the visit by Deputy Senior Gen Maung Aye late November, it and its surrounding areas had been carved out to become a new sub-township.

Irrawaddy reported earlier that a “Middle East Region Command”,with headquarters in Kholam, has been set up. “It is certainly a new military command,” said Yawdserk. “But there is as yet no confirmation that it’ll be a regional command separate from Taunggyi (where the Eastern Region Command is based).”

The Burma Army has so far established 3 regional commands in Shan State: the Northeastern with HQ in Lashio, the Eastern with HQ in Taunggyi and the Triangle with HQ in Kengtung. Continue reading “Yawdserk: Junta targeting Thai border Wa”

Wa to cooperate with ceasefire, non-ceasefire groups

MONDAY, 03 JANUARY 2011 16:43 HSENG KHIO FAH
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The United Wa State Party (UWSP), the political wing of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) has decided in its 10 day-long party conference, 20-29 December 2010, that it will cooperate with every ethnic organizations both from inside and outside the country and to work together until Burma achieves a genuine democracy.

A Wa officer said the UWSP will be working together with all ethnic groups inclusive of ceasefire groups and non-ceasefire groups due to one of its policies “Have few enemies but many friends.”

“We will form alliance with all the armed groups whether they are recognized as rebels and such to others, but we [the Wa] don’t see them that way because they all are the people of Burma,” the officer said.

“We cannot consider these people who hold guns are either being rebellious or pig headed, but only that they are holding guns to struggle for what they believe.”

According to him, the UWSP has decided to solve the current political, social and economic problems together with its allies and other ethnic organizations until Burma gains a genuine democracy.

In addition, the party has also agreed to invite more foreign investors to help develop its controlled areas.

Regarding the UWSP’s recent reached agreement, Khuensai Jaiyen, editor in chief of Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN) commented, “It is interesting that the group has decided to work with all armed groups and to invite foreign investors because it has never done before.”

Nevertheless, the group also confirmed that it would never surrender to any government and never transform itself into a border guard force (BGF), but it would try to negotiate with the new government about its problems according to its six point policies.

The said 6 points to be presented to the new government are the following:

  • The Wa stands for the Wa State’s peace and development
  • The Wa State shall have its own armed force. Wa weapons will remain in Wa hands. The Wa armed force will also remain in Wa State.
  • The Wa will not secede from the Union
  • The Wa will never demand or declare independence under any (Union) government
  • The Wa will steadfastly demand for a state with the Right of Self Determination from every (Union) government until it is achieved
  • The Wa are ready to discuss Wa affairs with the upcoming government, upholding a policy of non-alignment and neutrality
  • shanland.org

 

Wa reserve judgment on Panglong II

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The United Wa State Army’s political wing is reserving judgment over convening a second Panglong Conference, an idea conceived by an ethnic Zomi group and handed over to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to manage, a UWSA officer says.

wa-state-army-soldiersA United Wa State Army soldier takes a sip of water from a comrade in Mongyawn, three kilometres from the Thai border in Burma, on May 12, 2001. The army’s political wing revealed at its fifth annual district-level conference, in Mongmaw District in the northeast of Shan State, on December 29, 2010, that it was reserving judgment on the idea of holding a second Panglong Conference to solve ethnic conflicts in Burma. The first such conference in 1947 agreed in principle for “full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas”. It has never been implemented by any civilian or military government since and many observers blame this fact for 60 years of ethnic conflict. Photo: AFP

The stance was revealed at the United Wa State Party’s (UWSP) fifth annual district-level conference, a 10-day affair that started on December 20 in Mongmaw District in the northeast of Shan State.

“We didn’t clearly understand the idea of convening a second Panglong Conference led by Aung San Suu Kyi so we are still looking into it,” a UWSA officer said on condition of anonymity.  Continue reading “Wa reserve judgment on Panglong II”