Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Government employees sent on long leave in Wa area

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – In a significant development,  the Burmese junta has directed government employees and staff of NGOs posted in Panshang, the headquarters of the ‘United Wa State Army’ (UWSA), which is still refusing to accept the regime’s proposal to transform its armed wing into the Border Guard Force (BGF), to go back home by today, said border sources.

Staff members posted in Panshang  have been asked to go on long leave with full pay within two days starting March 22, editor Khun Sai of the Thailand based Shan Herald News Agency (SHAN), which monitors border news, said.

“The ministers in Nay Pyi Taw and officials from Lashio Divisional office ordered all employees of government departments based in Panshang and those of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to go back home,” he told Mizzima.

A Panshang resident said that most government employees from various departments such as Agriculture, Education, Health, Forest and Telegraph had gone home on the orders of the ‘higher authorities’.

Khun Sai said that this is significant as there are no such precedents of giving long leave with full pay in the last 20 years.

But it is still not yet clear whether 30 to 40 Burmese Army troops stationed in Panshang will also withdraw from their stations. He also added that he didn’t think that a confrontation is imminent, which local people and merchants are worried about.

There is palpable tension between ‘Wa’ troops and Burmese Army troops even as military preparations are on in both camps this month, it is learnt.

Khun Sai said that the junta reinforced troops from Light Infantry Battalion 55, 77 and 99 to Pang Long, east of Salween River, and west of the highway near Hopang.

Besides the Burmese Army has assigned sentry duty to Lahu People’s Militias west of Salween River. They have been ordered to build new army outposts.

Sino-Burma border based Burma affairs analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw said that Wa responded last week to the Chinese government, urging Wa troops to compromise on their 9-point demand submitted to the junta, saying they cannot compromise.

Wa also reportedly refused the junta’s demand to withdraw their troops from Meng Pauk and Meng Phyan east of Kenteng, east of Shan State, based on the decision of the Wa Central Committee.

Junta’s ‘Military Affairs Security’ (Military Intelligence) chief Lt. Gen. Ye Myint sent a letter to the Chinese Yunnan State government on March 3 asking them to mediate with the UWSA. The letter says unless the ‘Wa’ leaders accept their demand of transforming the Wa army into BGF, they will (1) declare the Wa organization as unlawful  (2) order them to surrender and (3) will launch an offensive against them, Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

Aung Kyaw Zaw added that taking off and landing of MIG 29 jet fighters bought from Russia on airstrips in Kengteng and Lashio on March 13 and 18 suggested that the ceasefire groups are being threatened by junta’s muscle power.


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