BURMA: Shan State Army ‘North’ leader pressured to persuade remaining brigade
The following article is reprinted with permission from Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.), Thailand.
Shan State Army ‘North’ leader pressured to persuade remaining brigade
By Hseng Khio Fah
August 5, 2010 16:01
The ceasefire Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’ which became a junta controlled home guard force in April, recently received an order from the Northeastern Region Command to persuade the last remaining brigade to accept the program as soon as possible, according to sources from the base.
Maj-Gen Aung Than Htut, the commander of the Northeastern Region Command issued the directive on 27 July to Sao Loi Mao. It instructed him to put pressure on the First Brigade to accept the militia program within two weeks, said a source who wishes to remain anonymous.
The SSA ‘North’ comprises 3 brigades, 1st Brigade in Wanhai in Kehsi township, 3rd Brigade in Hsipaw township and 7th Brigade in Shan State South’s Kunhing township as well as one border force and one HQ security force. Two of them, #3 and #7 have already consented to be controlled by the Burmese military.
The First, which boasts more than 2,500 armed fighters and is believed to be the strongest among the SSA’s 3 brigades, remains opposed to the program despite frequent pressure from its sister brigades #3 and #7, as well as from the Burmese military.
The 3rd and 7th Brigades are commanded by Major General Loimao and Gaifa respectively and the 1st by Maj-Gen Pang Fa, who is also the SSA (North)’s Chief of Staff.
But later reports suggest that Maj-Gen Loi Mao has not yet put in an appearance at the First Brigade base, said the source.
Sao Pang Fa, meanwhile, has given advance warning in a clear message that his response would be the same, said another source that has a close relationship to the brigade’s leadership.
“There’s no way Sao Loi Mao or Than Tut (the regional commander) is going to succeed,” he said.
Pang Fa has already received a number of invitations to visit Lashio, the Burma Army’s regional base. He has yet to accept them.
As a result of his defiance, he was ordered to withdraw all of his forces positioned near motorways and the Burma Army outposts in Shan State South’s Monghsu (gem land) in May.
Apart from the First Brigade of the SSA North, other groups continue to resist the BGF program: the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA), New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the 5th Brigade of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).