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SSA will stop collecting taxes, recruits: Officer

(Mizzima) – Taxes will no longer be collected by the Shan State Army (SSA) South, following the signing of a cease-fire and peace talks.

General Sao Yawd Serk. Photo: MizzimaA Shan officer at the Loi Hsarm Hsip base, opposite Chiangmai’s Fang district, told local people it is the first time that ordinary people will not have to pay taxes, the Shan Herald website reported on Thursday.

In addition, the ethnic armed group will stop recruitment of soldiers, said the officer.  

The news came out when the officer spoke to local Shan residents in Pongpakhem, located 16 kilometres north of the Thai-Burma border, the website reported.

“Lt. Awng Hseuk spoke to several hundred people gathered to listen to him, telling them that they will stop collecting taxes and also stop collecting ordinary people for army recruitment,” said a local resident. The SSA has not officially announced the new policy.

Since the SSA and Burmese government signed the latest agreement in Taunggyi earlier this week, an SSA team has held public meetings in three cities explaining the cease-fire and peace talks.

A local resident told the website the SSA soldiers did not carry weapons, and Burmese army troops provided security during the talk.

“People came to a public gathering despite most of them were not invited. People were very happy to see them,” said a local resident who attended the meeting.

The Shan State Army-South was one of the largest rebel factions fighting against Burmese troops. The commander of the SSA, Lieutenant General Yawd Serk, announced that there was no more SSA South and SSA North and there would be only one SSA in a ceremony held at its headquarters in Loi Taileng in May 2011.
Last Updated ( Friday, 20 January 2012 13:52 )  

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