Monday, 7 July 2008

Ceasefire group under pressure to surrender - NDAA-ESS

Shan Herald Agency for News

The National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), commonly known as the Mongla group, has been urged twice last June to “exchange arms for peace,” a euphemism for surrender, according to a senior Shan officer from Mongla, opposite China’s Daluo.

“They told us the draft constitution will go into effect in 2010,” he said on condition of anonymity. “All armed groups in Burma would then come under the single command. Accordingly, independent armed groups would no longer be tolerated.”

The Mongla group, officially known as Shan State Special Region #4, has been given another choice: to become a special combat police force under the new ‘civilian’ government.

Another demand was also made for Mongla, led by 62-year old Sai Leun aka Lin Mingxian, to withdraw from Hsop Lwe, the mouth of the Lwe river that flows into the Mekong, which is strategically and commercially important for Mongla’s survival.

Apart from Hsop Lwe, Sai Leun was urged to remove his troops from Mongyu and Monglwe, both south of the Nam Lwe. He was also told to give up villages surrounding Hsaleu, headquarters of its 369th Brigade. “That was not only to cut off Mongla from Hsaleu, but also from Mongphen (in Wa territory),” the officer explained. “In the event of offensive by the Burma Army, not only we cannot expect any support from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), both Hsaleu and Mongla will be completely and separately surrounded.”

So far Mongla has yet to respond to the demands.

The Shan State Army (SSA) “North,” officially Shan State Special Region #3, meanwhile has been urged to seriously consider the following proposition by junta authorities, according to an SSA source:
  • For the leadership to retire and form a political party
  • For the younger officers to take over the command
  • The SSA North will recruit new soldiers and the Burma Army will train them
  • The Burma Army will be responsible for salaries and all expenditures
“The offer of course was only short of saying we would become a part of the Tatmadaw (Armed Forces of Burma),” an officer commented wryly. (Another interview conducted just before the release of this report said Mongla had received the same offer.)

SHAN has yet to hear from other groups. There were 15 armed groups that had concluded ceasefire with Rangoon: 9 in Shan State, 2 in Kachin State, 3 in Kayah (Karenni) State and 1 in Mon State until 2005, when two of them: Palaung State Liberation Army (PSLA) and Shan State National Army (SSNA), both based in Shan State, were forced to surrender.

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