Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief of defense services, wants the two most powerful Shan ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) to remain close to their headquarters in Shan State while the Burma Army conducts its anti-narcotic campaign.
During a September 8 meeting at Eastern Command, at Shan State Capital, Taunggyi , the army chief said the EAOs shouldn’t exercise movement of their troops in other areas of the state, according to a report by the Tatmadaw True News Information Team.
Min Aung Hlaing wants the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) to keep its soldiers at its Loi Tai Leng headquarters and around southern Mongpan Township. He said the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) should remain at its Wan Hai base.
Spokespeople for both armies told SHAN that the demarcation of territory was not included in the ceasefire agreements the EAOs signed with the government many years ago.
“I think he forgot the state-level ceasefire,” said Maj Sai Than Aung, the spokesperson for SSPP/SSA, which doesn’t state where soldiers can be or where they can’t.
RCSS/SSA spokesperson Maj Kham San said there’s nothing about ‘demarcation’ in their peace treaty, nor is it included in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), which the EAO signed in 2015.
Kham San said the RCSS/SSA has its own anti-drug campaign, which was started before signing the NCA. Because the illicit drug trade is a huge problem in its area, causing enormous suffering to the Shan people, they will continue their anti-drug programs, he said. “Narcotics are a danger for the whole country,” Kham San explained.
Min Aung Hlaing said the Burma Army must be “ready for battle” at all times by training rigorously to become effective soldiers.
During his trip, the army chief also visited the Triangle Military Region in Kengtung, where he met with leaders of the United Wa State Army and the National Democratic Alliance Army and donated personal protective equipment (PPE).
Min Aung Hlaing received People’s Militia Force leaders in Namsang Township, located in southern Shan State. He donated PPE, while rewarding some leaders for their alleged effective anti-narcotic campaigns with money.