Mongla sticks to its guns
Bi-annual meeting of the Mongla ceasefire group yesterday resolved to hold on to the present territories that have been under its control since prior to 1989, when it was part of the Beijing-backed Communist Party of Burma (CPB), according to an insider source.
The National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), as the group led by Sai Leun names itself, and Shan State Special Region #4, as it is known to Burma’s ruling military council, has been under pressure to transfer the administration of villages surrounding Hsaleu, where its 369th Brigade is headquartered, and Nampan, where its 911th Brigade is headquartered.
“It is a ploy to cut us off from our own men and people,” the Shan officer told the Shan Herald during the interview. “It is also aimed to cut us off from our allies.”
The NDAA-ESS is a member of the Peace and Democracy Front (PDF), whose other members include the United Wa State Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), better known as Kokang.
It is not known to have any formal relations with the non-ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) “South” that is active in Mongyawng township, south of the Nam Lwe, a tributary of the Mekong.
According to the source, Mongla had dispatched a 5-men delegation led by Min Ein to Burma’s new capital on 2 May to demand that the junta authorities maintain existing arrangements. “Mi Ein returned empty-handed,” he said. “It appears the Burma Army is going to give us Mongla and the immediate surrounding villages only.”
The source said the group will continue to exercise “peaceful engagement policy” with the junta.
Its immediate neighbor and ally the UWSA had also been told to withdraw its troops from Mongpawk, Mongphen and Hotao and to transfer the administration to Mongyang township under the Burma Army control during the visit to Panghsang, the Wa capital, on 27 January by the outgoing Lt-Gen Ye Myint. “The Wa, as far as I know, has yet to respond to the demand,” he said.
The Mongla group, formerly known as Area 815 under the CPB, concluded ceasefire with Rangoon in 1989, following Kokang, Wa and Shan State Army (SSA) “North.” The group declared itself drug free in 1997.