One surrender that wasn’t reported
The 8 had surrendered to the Burma Army at a ceremony on 23 November, more than 2 weeks ago, but the junta media has been curiously silent about the whole affair, according to sources on the Thai-Burma border.
The 8 led by the 66 year old “Major” Ta Zerng “exchanged their arms for peace,” a substitution for “surrender”, to the area commander Col Aye Ko at Homong, opposite Maehongson, in the name of Wa National Army (WNA), a non-ceasefire Wa group whose base at Loi Wa Her aka Loi Tawng Myawk, near Ban Rak Thai, Muang district, Maehongson province.
Shan State Army (SSA) South, the WNA’s closest ally, however says all the 8’s membership has already expired long ago. “We’ve been with the WNA for more than three years,” said an officer who wished to remain anonymous. “We would have known them if they were still active, especially the officers.”
Lt-Col Teuk Mong, who was elected early this year as president to succeed Sao Maha Hsang, who passed away on 29 October 2007, confirmed the SSA’s report. “Ta Zerng had resigned in 1999,” he said. “So had others. Since I had been placed in command of the WNA troops in 1999 by Sao Maha Hsang, these people had never been under my command.”
A Thai military source said the said 8 could have been persuaded by Col Maha Ja, former Mong Tai Army (MTA) officer of the late Khun Sa and currently the chief of Homong militia, to join him. Maha Ja, a half brother of the late Maha Hsang, is also a Wa.
“Maybe the Burma Army is also still wondering whether the guys are genuine stuff before deciding to put them on the news,” he remarked.