Brigadier General Than Tun Oo of the Burma Army said they must attack the United Wa State Army (UWSA), the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA or Mongla Group) and the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).
He made the comment in a speech to government department staff in Mongyang Township, Kyaington District, Eastern Shan State on 15 February.
Bri. Gen. Than Tun Oo is the commander of the Triangle Region Command, the military division that oversees the region in Shan State to the east of the Salween River and to the south of the Wa Self-Administered Region.
He arrived in Mongyang Township on 15 February and called a meeting with staff from government departments.
According to government member of staff who did not wish to be named, in the meeting Bri. Gen. Than Tun Oo criticised the ethnic armed groups the UWSA, the NDAA and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance (MNDAA or Kokang Group) as followers of the Chinese communists and drug dealers. Previously, until the early 1990s, all the ethnic armed groups he mentioned were members of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB).
Someone else who attended the meeting said: “He said that the Mongla Group is supporting U Peng Jia Sheng [the leader of the MNDAA] They have been producing drugs in Manhpan, Mongpauk, and Pansang, and then they distribute drug to Thai, China and Burma. A brigade commander led Wa force is helping the Kokang group in battles.
“Sai Lin, the leader of the Mongla Group lets Peng Jia Sheng, who is also his father-in-law, live in his area. The Wa group [the UWSA] are the same as the communists [from the CPB]. They have been producing drugs in Manhpan, Mongpauk, and Pansang, which they then distribute in Thailand, China and Burma. Recently, a Wa commander was arrested with heroin in Mongphyat and so on.”
According to the same person Gen. Than Tun Oo also said: “RCSS, it means Restoration Council of Shan State, that name is nothing. What are they going to restore? There must be only one army and government in a country. It is not possible for them to continue like this, if they do they will be cleaned [attacked and defeated] in one day.”
Bri. Gen. Than Tun Oo told the government staff that he had already served for 10 years in Shan State. Prior to arriving in eastern Shan State he used to work at No. 16 Military Operations Command (MOC) based in Theinni Township for over two years, then at No.18 MOC based in Mong Hpayak Township for three to four years and now at the infantry regional command office in Kyaington for over four years.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI