Shan State Army (SSA) South will stop collecting taxes and recruits from the ordinary people, said Lt Awng Hseuk, an officer from the Loi Hsarm Hsip base, opposite Chiangmai’s Fang district, today.
This is the first time that people will not have to pay taxes and provide recruits for the SSA.
The news came after SSA had signed a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 2 December 2011 and a small team of SSA led by Awng Hseuk spoke to the public gathering in Pongpakhem, located 16 km north of the Thai-Burma border.
“Lt Awng Hseuk with other 6 members spoke to several hundred people gathered to listen to him that they will stop collecting the taxes and also stop collecting the ordinary people for army recruitments,” said a local resident.
But this new policy has not officially announced by SSA leader Col. Yawdserk yet.
Since SSA and Thein Sein government signed the latest agreement in Taunggyi earlier this week, the SSA delegation has visited several parts of Shan State, meeting with community organizations and local people and explaining the SSA new policies and asking suggestions from the people.
Public meetings were held in Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai, since Tuesday:
17 January – Mongton
18 Januray – Nakawngmu
19 January – Pongpakhem
Hundreds of local residents turned up at today’s meeting which was guarded by the Burmese army for the security and people do not have to fear the Burmese army for seeing the SSA members.
“They are wearing full SSA uniform but did not carry any guns. People came to public gathering despite most of them were not invited. People were very happy to see them,” a local resident who attended the meeting said.