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Palpable tension between LID 66 and MAS unit

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – There is palpable tension between the Inma village based Burmese Army battalion under LID 66 and a battalion of the Military Affairs Security (MAS) in Pyi district of western Pegu division for unspecified  reasons.

Local residents said, tension has been building up for about a week, between the MAS, the group that replaced the former Military Intelligence (MI), sent from Rangoon and the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 80 and LIB 5 based in Inma village of Thegon Township based.

“We have learnt that an intelligence unit, MAS, was sent recently from Rangoon to the LIB 5.  There was some tension between this unit and the LIB 80. There have been disputes between them for about a week now. We also heard that it is an instance of disobedience and insubordination,” a local resident from Paungde town told Mizzima on Wednesday.lid66-mas1

But BBC Burmese service broadcast in its yesterday evening programme, that there was shooting by LIB 80 under LID 66 on Sunday evening, which left a Sergeant from ILB 5 intelligence unit critically injured. He succumbed to his injuries at the military hospital between Inma village and Ywa Taung.

The BBC quoted a local resident of an army family saying, “LID 66 could not intervene in the current situation where tension has intensified.  All the soldiers have been asked to take rest. Yesterdays’ shooting was reportedly the result of forcible entry by the intelligence unit.”

The BBC report added, “LIDs 80, 68 and 75 battalions have been disobedient and shown insubordination  because of difficulties in day to day living since the third week of December”.

Though there has been a tradition of tension and dislike between infantry battalions and military intelligence units in the Burmese Army, there has so far been no incidents of such shooting among them, leaving people doubting the veracity of the news, a Rangoon based Mizzima reporter said.

But a former army officer, now living in exile, told Mizzima that in late December the LID 80 along with two other battalions based in the area were disobedient in connection with their poor salaries. He said, following the incident, at least 50 officers and other ranks were arrested.

lid66-mas2Besides, the LID 66 commander Col. San Myint (BC 17953) has been court-martial and is put on trial at a military tribunal.

The former officer said, “It is not a clash, just tension among them mainly because of difficulties in their livelihood. They are unhappy about the unequal and higher pay being paid to ceasefire groups so they became disobedient.”

But, a regular military-affairs writer and columnist, Gamani said that there was a clash saying, “The shooting lasted only a while. The other side withdrew and currently the situation is calm.”

The LID 66, which was stationed at Kadone Kani village in Irrawaddy Delta during the Cyclone Nargis relief operations, have reportedly been into violation of the rights of villagers including the use of forced labour.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 January 2010 22:27 )  

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