Monday, 18 November 2019

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Army drives wedge between Wa forces

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese Army officials have managed to persuade and driven a wedge between members of the ceasefire ethnic armed group the ‘United Wa State Army’ (UWSA) in northern and central Shan State in order to transform its army into the regime controlled ‘Border Guard Force’ (BGF).

Officers from the ‘Military Operation Command’ (MOC) 16 based in Seinwi, Kwanlon and Hopan in northern Shan State met some Wa officials from Mai Mai based 318th Brigade and Mai Khan based 468th Brigade. They persuaded them to accept the junta’s proposal, according to the Thai based ‘Shan Herald News Agency’ (SHAN) Assistant Editor U Sein Kyi.

“They were called to Hopang for discussions with junta officers on October 8. I heard that the Kwanlon, Hopang based Burmese Army officers would meet Wa officers of the 318th and 468th Brigades in northern Wa controlled area through middlemen for discussions,” Sein Kyi told Mizzima.

Similarly junta officers are trying to drive a wedge between some Wa forces based in Maitho, Mai Kham along the Thai-Burma border to split the ethnic forces, Sein Kyi, a Wa observer added.

In the wake of military operations against Kokang (MNDAA) forces, the Wa forces in the 171st Region, southern Wa State are moving cautiously in their area and arranging reinforcements, dumping military supplies and moving at night, it is learnt.

“In some villages, arms and ammunitions have been issued since the end of August and early September. There is troop buildup, dumping of food and supplies, and military manoeuvres after the assault against Kokang forces,” Sein Kyi said.

The junta’s forces have deployed armoured units and heavy weaponry northeast of Kengtung, central Wa region, around Mengshat and Thantone Township, 20 miles from Hopang in northern Wa controlled region. These are the strongholds of the Wa Army.

According to military analysts’, Wa has a 25,000-strong army plus 40,000-strong people’s militia forces. One of every three people’s militia is a former Wa army soldier, Sein Kyi said.

Thai border security officials estimate that about 200,000 Wa war refugees will flee to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand when war breaks out between the junta and Wa forces based along the Thai-Burma and Sino-Burma borders.


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