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Six junta soldiers defect to Arakan militia

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Six Burmese Army soldiers including a corporal have defected to the Arakan Liberation Army from a battalion based in Sittwe in Arakan State, the separatist militia’s spokesman said yesterday. 

After killing their commander, Captain Htet Aung Htun, the men from Infantry Battalion 232 based in Sittwe, Arakan (Rakhine) State defected on Sunday, carrying with them arms and ammunition, Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) said.  

They were Corporal Than Aye, 36, (tag number Ta/75184), Lance Corporal Moe Aung,  26, (Ta/116574); Lance corporal Zaw Zaw Han, 25, Ta/121785 , Lance Corporal Maung Maung Naing, 26, (Ta/121743); Private Zaw Min Oo, 25, (Ta/401336); and, Private San Win, 27, (Ta/423148) joined the ALA.  

“This area is dominated by both of us [junta troops and the ALA] and movements of our forces are criss-crossing this area,” ALP Joint Secretary Khaing Thu Kha. “They know well where we are and vice versa. So they came and surrendered to us.”

The defectors were being kept at a secure location, he said. 

“We welcome them and are glad to see them joining us,” he said. “Since they have not yet reached our headquarters, we have not arranged anything for them.”

“We will help them only after asking them about their intentions. We have given similar assistance to troop defectors before”, he added.

They brought with them five MA-11 and two MA-3 rifles, one MA-79 grenade launcher and 19 shells, one B-100 commando mortar with 12 shells, one 9mm pistol with two magazine boxes and 14 bullets, six hand grenades, six M-16 landmines, 10 equipment bags, six backpacks, one large radio set and about 1,300 other assorted ammunition pieces, the ALA said. 

A mobile frontline column from Yechanpyin village, the battalion is led by acting commander Major Kyaw Moe Hein and is stationed near Ngweletwa village, in Paletwa. The reserve platoon under this column was led by Htet Aung Htun and is stationed at the Myeikwa India-Burma border outpost. 

In 2007, two soldiers with arms and ammunition defected to the ALA operating along the border in Sittwe and Maungdaw districts in Arakan and Paletwa in Chin State.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 May 2010 13:21 )  

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