Battles in Mone Township of Bago Division; Military council’s strategy of exercising in armed resistance areas

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – June 04 Scenes

MoeMaKa, June 05, 2023

Battles in Mone Township of Bago Division; Military council’s strategy of exercising in armed resistance areas

These days, there have been news reports of tens of thousands of local residents fleeing due to military activities and attacks by military council troops in villages in Mone Township, Nyaunglebin District, Bago Division, and news of many villages fleeing due to military raids in Khin-U Township, Sagaing Division.

Last month, the military council troops killed 18 civilians in Nyaung Pin Thar Village, a village in Nyaunglebin District, where the military council troops have been committing brutal killings and terrorist acts just like in Sagaing Division threatening the local people to feel fear.

A few weeks after the recent election of a new chairman in KNU, fighting continues in Bago Division and Karen State. Fighting is still going on in areas such as Kyainseikgyi in Karen State, Mone and Kyaukkyi in Nyaunglebin District, and Hpapun District. Some battles are fought together by KNU and PDF joint forces. Most of KNU’s leaders presume that the NCA, which was signed before the military coup, has become null and void, and some commanders seem to avoid clashes with the military council.

The most clashes are seen in KNU Brigades 6, 5, 3, and 1. There have been speculations that there may be more fights between KNU and the military council because of Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, who was recently elected chairman from vice chairman, but there is no concrete evidence to say that.

The KNU armed group is a large armed group spreading over a total of 4 regions; 2 divisions and 2 states. It occupies a wide, liberated area bordering Thailand for hundreds of miles in the southeast of Myanmar.

As an armed group, KNU is an important ally for NUG and CRPH, and it is also important in assisting the PDF and urban guerrilla forces active in southern Myanmar in obtaining weapons, ammunition and military training.

The military council seems to have understood the role of KNU and has adopted a strategy of alternately threatening and organizing KNU to reach the path of NCA, in other words, becoming a neutral group in armed struggles.

On the one hand, KNU has more than 7 decades of experience in armed struggles, and on the other hand, it also has the bitter experience of helping and rescuing the local communities from the sufferings caused by the fighting. So, they may have a dilemma in making a decision.

When fighting a war, there is the goal of achieving military success and defeating the enemy, as well as the responsibility to protect the people in the area where one is based. On the other hand, the enemy, the military, has been using tactics of making the local population hostages to prevent the fighting from becoming a long-term one or from intensifying it.

As a dictatorial army, it is not necessary to rely on a single war-torn region to collect food taxes, because it can use the taxes and resources collected from the entire country. So, the public support of the war-torn region is not essential for them, but as ethnic armed groups, it is inevitable that they have to protect the local people in their base from suffering so as not to lose the support of their people. This fact is used by the military council as a weakness of the ethnic armed groups to attack.

Whenever there is a war in the KNU regions, the military usually carries out violent acts of severe human rights violations, such as targeting civilians, not military targets, and making them flee and seek shelter by firing heavy artillery into the villages and conducting air raids. These tactics are also being used now.

In Sagaing, which is not an ethnically armed region, even more serious punishments are made by the military council troops, and it is also seen that local people use methods of punishing entire villages to discourage armed resistance at all.

The military council is trying deliberately to weaken the armed revolution and make them at a loss by torching whole villages, destroying food, practicing the “four cuts strategy, conducting air raids, and torturing and killing all adult males, regarding them as members of the PDF or defense forces.

However, the actual situations over the past two years have proven that these methods did not achieve their desired goals.