Mon 30 Apr 2007
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
The Burma Army sponsored militia groups are getting more weapons and authority over local civilian populations, according to sources on the border.
On 24 April, a meeting was held in Nakawngmu, Mongton Township, opposite Chiangmai, where the area commander conferred upon two militia commanders a number of assorted weapons and the authority to implement orders issued by the Burmese military:
Tin Win, 32 automatic rifles, including 10 G3s and 22 Mzzs, and 1 RPG7 with authority over the sector stretching from Maeken to Monghang, roughly east of the Mongton-BP1 highway.
Pi Koy, 10 G3s and 1 M60 mortar, with authority over the sector stretching form Napayawng (Loi Khilek) to Zaktaw, roughly west of the Mongton-BP1 highway.
Similar reports with fewer details have also been received from Tachilek, opposite Chiangrai.
Since the fall of Gen Khin Nyunt under whom the ceasefire groups had been showered with special privileges, the rules are changing under Deputy Senior General Maung Aye, who favours the militia over ceasefire groups. “(They) are merely enemies who have taken a break in the fighting against us,” the present Mongton area commander’s predecessor was quoted as saying in 2005.
Everything, however, is not plain sailing for the militia. The Panhsay militia, led by Kyaw Myint aka Li Yongqiang, had been disarmed in a three-day operation, from April 22 to 24, by the Burma Army, reportedly under Chinese pressure. Kyaw Myint had been a protÃ©gÃ© of successive regional commanders including Tin Aung Myint Oo, Myint Hlaing and Aung Than Tut and was considered one of the untouchable druglords. “He received 50 assorted weapons earlier in the month,” said a source.
Kyaw Myint is prominently highlighted in SHAN’s latest report Hand in Glove: The Burma Army and the Drug Trade in Shan State.