Unfolding Moebye (Mongbye) youngsters’ thorny road armed revolution


“We never went to war before. We were scared at first, and we had to fight our inner fear before we set out to the battlefield,” said Ko Doke Gyi, a young Moebye’s People Defense Force (PDF) member who revolted against the military regime.

Mongbye PDF
Mongbye PDF

“We tried by all means – gathering and demonstrating on the streets after the coup on 1st February 2021, it did not take us anywhere,” the 21-year Ko Doke Kyi enthusiastically explained why he has chosen armed revolution.

He decided to take arms after witnessing the military regime brutalities – cracking down the protestors, beating up and arresting people, and firing live ammunitions at unarmed demonstrators.

He had never dreamt of such a day he would be the one holding arms and rebel against the military dictatorship. When he first started firing guns, he was terrified hearing the sound of it. He defeated his fear and stepped into the battleground.

Mongbye Defence Force
Mongbye Defence Force

“Of course, I was frightened. I have never experienced a real war, I only have seen it in the movies. In reality, it was horrified. However, I had to overcome my inner fear so that I could fight my enemy,” he expressed his feeling during his first combat.

Ko Doke Kyi is one of the PDF force members who lives in the Southern Shan State and Kayah State border town called Moebye (Mongbye).

Moebye’s young generation, both men and women, has eagerly joined PDF and received fundamental warfare trainings in order to eradicate the Myanmar military dictatorship.

The fumes of war over a lively town

Moebye is a beautiful town, located on the edge of Southern Shan State border, surrounded by mountains and paddy fields in which Pilu Chaung river passing through the town making it geographically one of the best locations to live.

Mongbye Town
Mongbye Town

Paddy and corn are the main agricultural produces which Moebye residents depend upon for a living. The Kayan sausage, one of the Kayah’s symbolic and popular food, is originally from Moebye.

Kayan ethnic is the majority of the population and Shan ethnic is the second most lives in Moebye because of its location closed to both Kayah and Shan State.

Among all of the towns in Shan State, Moebye was the first to grab arms and rise against the military junta who illegally took power on 1st February 2021 coup.

On 23rd May 2021, three months after the coup, Moebye’s People Defense Force (PDF) conducted its first attack on Moebye police force station.

Cartoon Youth assaulting Moebye police station during protest
Cartoon Youth assaulting Moebye police station during demonstration

“We completed our first mission by assaulting Moebye police station. There were 20 casualties from the Myanmar junta side, plus 4 being detained alive. It was my first strike as a PDF soldier,” Ko Doke Kyi proudly narrated his experience.

The military junta intensified its offensive warfare in Moebye after the PDF released some photographs of devoted women undergone military training on October 19, 2021.

The military forces targeted the villages and civilians’ houses – making the once lively Moebye town into a graveyard. The locals were terrified and lived in fear.

Lives of IDPs in the ongoing conflict zones

After the National Unity Government (NUG) announced the D-Day on September 7, 2021, the fight between Myanmar army and PDF forces aggravated which resulted many IDPs fleeing Moebye town.

According to one IDP, there has been five big clashes between Myanmar army and PDF forces in Moebye town.

“As far as I remember, five skirmishes were reported. Moebye police station was the first one followed by the fight in Railroad, Kone Thar, Loi Kaw, and between Pekon and Moebye,” a Mobye local reported.

Because of those conflicts, the residents abandoned their homes and relocated to the nearby villages where they felt safe. The local IDPs not only suffered from the conflict threats but also from the starvation because of limited supplies.

Mongbye IDPs
Mongbye IDPs

“On one hand, we have to flee; one the other hand, we have to earn a living. I do not know when this tragedy will end,” complained by one of the locals.

Because of the coup, the natives had been living in anxiety – they could not work on their farms as usual because of the worry that fight could escalate anytime.

“We are afraid of being targeted. We do not feel secure while working on our farms. We are always being cautious and we cannot immerse ourself into the farm because we feel insecure,” a 40 years old man who lives in Moebye voiced his concerns.

Whenever there was an engagement between the Myanmar junta and PDF forces, Myanmar army usually arrested and tortured civilians, targeted and damaged locals’ properties. Moreover, they attacked places where IDPs are taking refuge. The IDPs had to be vigilant while escaping not to confront with the army.

“We are not safe even at the IDP camp. There were times when big shells fell into our camp, Myanmar army intentionally targeted us. We have to be careful not to encounter them while on the run,” the 40 years old man added.

Apart from the troubles of ongoing conflicts and daily lives struggling, Covid-19 was another pressing issue according to one IDP.

IDPs at Mongbye
IDPs at Mongbye

“I was in one of the IDPs camps, and I came back home. When I reached home, I lost my smell and taste sense – the symptoms of Covid-19. There were many people in the camp, and some were suffering from Covid-19,” a 21-year man who just came back from one of the IDPs camp said.

According to the estimation, Moebye population is over ten thousand, and more than four thousand have been displaced because of the hostilities.

One officer from the Moebye Rescue Team said, “there were many Covid-19 infected people in the IDP camps.”

“There were over four thousand IDPs, and shortage of daily necessity supplies was one of the issues. Also, many had been infected with Covid-19. We were trying our best to provide treatments,” Moebye Rescue Team told SHAN.

The team added, “IDPs were only depending on donors for their daily needs such as food and shelters.”

The over four thousand IDPs were not camping together in one place – some were staying at monasteries, and some were moving to their relatives nearby villages.

Most of the IDPs were those living closed to the Myanmar army’s Light Infantry Battalion 422 based in Moebye.

According to the Moebye Rescue Team, “Not everyone was fleeing their homes. Only those who live near the Myanmar army’s Light Infantry Battalion 422 were running away. Some went to nearby villages, some to the IDPs camp, and some to the monasteries.”

Myanmar army was intentionally shelling into the town where civilians live, three people were reportedly killed, and seven were severely injured including three children.

Moebye is only 10 miles away from Pekon township where the fight between Myanmar army and PDF forces was more intensified and more people were dislocated. IDPs camps were susceptible to Myanmar army’s threat; thus, the Moebye natives were concerned the war could escalate into the area.

“The battle was more severe in Pekon. We were afraid that it would expand into Moebye town. The IDPs camps could not guarantee for our safety,” explained by one Moebye resident.

On November 9, 2021, some Moebye locals had been urgently moved to a safe place overnight because of the unexpected situation.

For brighter future, the fight must go on

Because of the coup on 1st February 2021, most young people have lost their future dreams, and some have chosen armed revolution in order to realize their future goals.

Among those who did not concede for their futures, Ko Doke Kyi is one of them, and he has chosen his path to become part of the Moebye’s PDF.

People Defence Force combat training
People Defence Force combat training

Ko Doke Kyi said, “I could not express my feeling when the coup happened. I felt like my future was no more. However, I am not lost anymore. From here, I will fight and look for my futures.”

Due to the coup, not only young generations have lost their ways, but also most of the Myanmar people’s prosperity and lives, such as in businesses, education, etc, have been disrupted. 

“I am supporting the revolution all the best I can even though I cannot take arms. I have lost my future, I cannot continue my studies, and all I have dreamt of is in vein now. Because of Covid-19 and this political turmoil, my family business is ruined,” a 21-year Boebye young man expressed his situation.

Moebye residents have been living with this continuous conflicts since the coup, and everyone is expecting the hostilities to end soon. The locals are calling for the Myanmar army to hand over the power to the civilian government.

“Hand over the authority to the elected civilian government immediately. We want to see peace. To the youngsters who are fighting for the democracy, if you are going to attack them (Myanmar army), do it fast and bring peace to us soon,” a 50 years old man conveying his wish and made a request to the fighters.

Moebye PDF requested the residents to be patient saying the only way to eliminate Myanmar junta is through armed revolution.

Currently, it is reported that Moebye PDF has over one thousand members. They are active locally, and they are under the National Unity Government (NUG)’s People Defense Force army.

“We will move forward until we can exterminate them (Myanmar junta). Regardless of the hardship, we will push and accomplish it during our generation. To our civilians, please be strong and be patient,” a Moebye PDF member, Ko Doke Kyi, revealing his wish and sending his message to the people.

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