A junta-backed Lahu militia unit based in Namyoom, Shan State East’s Mongphyak Township, 51 miles from Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai, staged a protest against the Triangle Region Command Commander for using them as an advance guards in their military operations, according to militia sources.
Chief of the unit Ja Seu-bo was reported to have complained to the commander Maj Gen Kyaw Phyoe that a member of his group was injured in a recent clash with Shan State Army (SSA) ‘South’. “It was because his men were ordered to move as the patrol’s advance guard,” a local Lahu militiaman said.
The group, better known as Namyoom group, was one of the strongest junta-backed militia forces that have been active along the Mekong. It is said to have over 400 men.
On 19 March, one of the group members was reported to have been wounded in the fighting with troops from Military Region No.1 of the SSA ‘South’ while they were on patrol with soldiers from Mongpyak based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) # 329 commanded by Maj Soe Myint, according to sources.
The group had fought against the SSA three times in four days, according to the SSA. The clashes took place at Loi Hsarm Hsawk on 16 and 17 March, and near Nampiang deserted village, Mongpak tract, on 19 March.
“We are not regular soldiers like you. How can we lead your men in the fighting,” a source quoted Ja Seu-bo as saying. “When one of us dies, there is no monetary compensation like soldiers.”
Maj-Gen Kyaw Phyoe was said to have promised that he would not let this kind of situation happen anymore in the future.
A senior officer from the SSA also confirmed about the fighting with the group.
“It was like they [military] are using us, the people from the same state, to kill each other,” the officer said.
Five clashes have already taken place between the Burmese Army and the SSA since March 1. One took place in Mongpan Township, southern Shan State on March 1 that left three soldiers dead. Another took place on March 13, near Namzang Township, Shan State South that left 21 soldiers dead.
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