The Burma Army has ordered its affiliated People’s Militia Forces (PMFs) in Muse Township, northern Shan State, to remain on their bases, according to local sources.
The order was reportedly handed down during a meeting between government forces and the PMFs including Kawng Hkar, Mongpaw, and Myoma in Muse town on February 26. With the exception of the Myoma PMF, the other militias were also ordered not to carry weapons when traveling outside of their bases.
“I heard that the Burma Army ordered all PMFs to return to their respective bases. I still don’t know the details,” state parliamentarian for Muse Township Sai Kyaw Thein told SHAN, adding that he was not present at the meeting in question.
Sai Kyaw Thein said that there are at least 10 militias in Muse, and that they have their own business interests.
“The Mongpaw PMF is from the Panghsai area. The Myoma PMF is taking security on roads and bridges in Muse. Other PMFs have come here for their own business purposes,” the MP explained.
Locals have previously complained to SHAN that armed PMF members are visible on the streets of downtown Muse, causing fear among residents. Incidents have also been documented where militia members have beaten locals and perpetuated other physical abuses.
Muse resident Sai Hsai said this is less common in recent days.
“It’s a little bit strange for me. I do not see the PMF soldiers wearing uniforms and carrying weapons in downtown Muse in these days,” he told SHAN, adding that the shift would be good if it meant locals would be protected from violence by the militia members.