Thursday, August 26, 2010

Junta threatens Wa army with ‘unlawful association’

Thursday, 26 August 2010 00:29 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese junta’s chief negotiator with armed ceasefire groups has threatened the Wa army with unlawful association charges and military force, a Wa leader says.

Lieutenant General Ye Myint, the head of Military Affairs Security (MAS), the junta’s military intelligence wing, said the United Wa State Army (UWSA) would be declared in breach of laws governing unlawful association and that the State Peace and Development Council (the junta) would deploy its army units to effect those charges against them next month.

His comments came during a meeting with UWSA representative and political consultative committee chairman Lai Kham at Tanyan in northern Shan State last Friday. He was there to coax the group into the SPDC’s Border Guard Force (BGF), which would bring the Wa troops under junta commanders.

Naypyidaw appeared angry with the Wa over its refusal to accept the BGF “offer” and also said it would deploy administrative units to the Wa-controlled areas on the eastern bank of the Salween River in Pansang, Mengmao, Panwai and Naphan townships, a Wa leader present at the talks said.

The 20,000-strong Wa army did not seem to take the association threat seriously as Ye Myint had made given such ultimatums before, but a Wa leader said that his army would refrain from making the first move against junta troops.

“The Wa stand only for negotiations. [Whether we] fight or not depends only on them [the SPDC], but all of us must defend our territory, our compounds and our homes if they are attacked. We can say that the situation is tense”, the Wa leader told Mizzima.

The Wa decided to allow polling for the elections on November 7 only in two of the six townships designated as their “Wa Self-Administered Division”, outlined in the 2008 constitution. The permitted townships are Hopang and Metman (Mawpha). The organisation banned polling in Mengmao, Panwai, Naphang and Pansang.

Hopang and Metman are controlled by junta troops and the other four are controlled by Wa troops. In a notification issued by the Union Election Commission on August 11, the four townships are mentioned as Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) constituencies and Hopan and Metman are mentioned as State Assembly constituencies.

The area under dispute is Mai Pauk District, which contains Mengphang, Mantmein, Mai Pauk, Hotaung, Monyin townships. The Wa army claimed it as its territory but the junta refused to recognise the Wa claim. Monyin is reportedly designated a no-man’s-land.

“Now they [the junta] say they’ll hold elections but there are no [voter-]education campaigns … The people don’t even know what an election is. Not only in Wa State, the entire population [of Burma] cried out that the 2008 constitutional referendum was a farce … Most of the people did not know about it. There weren’t even any interpreters for that referendum”, a Wa villager said.

After meeting the Wa delegation, Ye Myint on the same day met delegates from the Eastern Shan State Special Region No. 4, or the Mengla organisation, led by San Leun, at the Triangle Command headquarters based in Kengtung. He urged them also to bring its troops into the junta-controlled BGF, a Mengla source said.

The Mengla group again rejected the junta’s BGF offer, and polling in its territory, the source said.

Mengla Township was designated a State Assembly constituency by the Union Election Commission.

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