Monday, August 17, 2009

Kokang Army gears up for combat

by Myo Gyi
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 09:34

Ruili (Mizzima) – The Kokang Army is gearing up for combat after a local Burmese Army unit and police tried to enter Shan State (North) to the Lao Kai based ceasefire group MNDAA’s Kokang Chairman’s residence on the pretext of looking for drugs on August 8.

The Kokang Army has refused to transform to a Border Guard Force (BGF) as desired by the junta.

Following the incident, the leaders of Kokang Special Region ‘Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army’ (MNDAA) met junta’s Northeast Command Commander Maj. Gen. Aung Than Htut in Lao Kai on August 10 but could not resolve the dispute. As such there is simmering tension between the two armies. The Kokang Army is getting ready for combat and is on stand by mode since yesterday.

“There was a stand off for several hours on that day. Kokan Army leaders said they have a ceasefire agreement for over 20 years. ‘When we had an agreement with Gen. Khin Nyunt, there was nothing like you are saying now. How can we trust you when you are being so harsh with an internationally acclaimed figure like Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,’ ” the leaders were quoted as saying by a man close to the Kokang Army. Now they are getting ready for battle and the situation is confusing, he added.

Yesterday morning the MNDAA released soldiers, kept in lockups for violating rules and discipline, in a bid to reinforce its army. Moreover they have asked for reinforcements from allies the ‘United Wa State Army’ (UWSA).

“About 100 UWSA troops arrived in Kokang territory,” a source from an ethnic armed group in Shan State (North) said.

Similarly a tactical command comprising of three combat battalions under the command of Military Operation Command (MOC) No. 16 and army units under the command of Kutkai Strategic Command took up position at Nam Tip and Ta Swe Thang in Lao Kai region.

Following these developments and subsequent tension, about 3,000 villagers from the area fled to the Sino-Burma border but the Chinese authorities stopped them from crossing the border. The villagers are now in trouble, a sources from the ethnic armed group said.

On April 28, representatives of the Burmese Army proposed to six ethnic armed groups along the Sino-Burma border to transform to a Border Guard Force (BGF).

The MNDAA and other four ethnic armed forces rejected the proposal but only the New Democratic Army (Kachin) (NDA-K) has accepted.

The MNDAA is the first ethnic armed group, which revolted against the Communist Party of Burma in 1989, and maintains a ceasefire agreement with the junta since then.

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