Friday, 15 November 2019

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Wa Army determines to keep their guns

Ruili, China & Chiang Mai, Thailand (Mizzima) – United Wa State Army (UWSA), an armed ceasefire group, has began briefing its rank and file of its policy of protecting their peace with arms early this month, a Wa army commander said.

The UWSA held its Central Committee meeting from November 26 to 28 in November at its headquarters in Pang Sang, northern Shan State, and adopted the policy of safeguarding their peace and began briefing its soldiers.

“We have told our soldiers to be united and to defend our territory and not to worry about their livelihoods. They have been told to be prepared for war,” a Major of the UWSA, who request anonymity, told Mizzima.

The group, with regards to the ruling junta’s proposed Birder guard Force (BGF), submitted a 9-point proposal to the Military Affairs Security (MAS) Chief Lt. Gen. Ye Myint on November 14, which was turned down by the junta on November 25.  

Following the turned down of their proposal the USWA adopted the policy of ‘defending peace with arms’ during a central committee meeting.

In its proposal, the group, demanded autonomy and equal rights, allowing them their entity, despite acceptance of the BGF in principle, and to rectify the junta’s decision on demarcation of Meng Pauk and Meng Pyan region in Wa territory in northeast Shan State, putting them along with Maila and Ken Tung district, the UWSA Major said.

The Major said, they have also rejected the junta’s idea of separately identifying the Wa Army as Sino-Burmese border Wa army and Thai-Burmese border Wa army, basically differentiating the group into two – Wei Hseuh Keng led Thai-Burmese Army and Bao Yuxiang led Sino-Burmese Wa army.

A Sino-Burmese border-based analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw said, “Basically, the Wa Army cannot surrender even an inch of their territory, a single bullet or a single rifle to the junta.  Next is their policy of not to shoot first but they will fight in self-defence if attacked.”

“The junta’s plan of transforming the Wa army is to form them into two divisions - north and south - which will be based at Wang Hong and in Pang Kham. In each group there will be a commanding officer from the Wa and two second-in-commands of which one will be from the Burmese army.

And then there will be three General Staff Officers under their command. The Chief of General Staff will be from the Wa Army and one of the two subordinates will be from the Burmese Army. There will be a three-member leadership in every unit, with two being from Wa and another from the junta’s force,” he added.

Wa, which predominantly held the armed wing of Communist Party of Burma, split off from the CPB to form the UWSA 1989. In the same year, they enter into a ceasefire peace agreement with the military regime.

Lt. Gen. Ye Myint, the junta’s Chief of MAS, has met the UWSA leaders at least thrice on the issue of transforming their army into a Border Guard Force, but failed to reach an agreement.

The junta had proposed all ceasefire armed groups to transform their armies into BGF on April 28, and set October as the deadline. But with only a few groups responding, the junta was forced to extend the deadline to the end of December.

The Wa official told Mizzima that leaders of the 20,000-strong Wa Army and the junta representatives are to meet again before the deadline.

So far the splinter Kokang army under the leadership of Bai Xuoqian, the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) and the New Democratic Army – Kachin (NDA-K), are the only three groups that have consented to the junta’s proposal of transforming their armies in to a border guard force.

Sources said, the ‘Democratic Karen Buddhist Army’ (DKBA), a breakaway faction of the ‘Karen National Union’ (KNU), an armed Karen rebels, have also agreed to the junta’s proposal.

(Edited by Ko Wild)


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