Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 05, 2024 by MoeMaKa Media:
Laukkaing DaSaKa Surrenders as Wa Forces Emerge in Operation 1027
In an unexpected turn of events, the Regional Operation Command Headquarters (DaKaSa) controlling Laukkaing, the capital of the Kokang Autonomous Region, surrendered on January 4, marking the largest and surprising capitulation since the commencement of Operation 1027. The surrender unfolded after over two weeks of intense fighting in Laukkaing Town, culminating in the capture of the entire town by the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). While the takeover of Laukkaing by Kokang forces wasn’t unforeseen, the startling surrender of the entire DaKaSa base, housing approximately 2,000 personnel, including a Brigadier-General-level commander, marked a significant and unprecedented development since the military coup in Myanmar.
Although reports indicate that DaKaSa surrendered following negotiations, details regarding the terms and conditions of the surrender agreement remain undisclosed. A day after the surrender, photographs circulated depicting military council officers, including the DaKaSa commander, and officials from the ethnic armed group casually dining together. The images, showing the DaKaSa commander in civilian attire, conversing and sharing a meal with MNDAA officials, strongly suggest a negotiated surrender orchestrated from Nay Pyi Taw.
Following the surrender, the entire DaKaSa force, estimated at around 2,400 soldiers, is expected to withdraw from the Kokang area to Lashio. The manner in which the surrender ceremony transpired and the unarmed mass retreat raises intriguing questions about the negotiations between the 3 Brotherhood Alliances and the military council leadership.
In conjunction with the surrender of Laukkaing DaKaSa, another pivotal event unfolded as Hopang, the capital of the Wa Autonomous Region, was handed over to the United Wa State Army (UWSA) after being captured by the MNDAA.
At the onset of Operation 1027, the UWSA had declared non-participation in armed conflicts involving the Military Council and Kokang forces and the Military Council and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). The UWSA further asserted that it would not permit any armed force to encroach upon its territory or airspace. However, the handover of Hopang, coupled with the entrance of Wa armed forces, belies the initial claims, revealing UWSA’s involvement in Operation 1027.
Despite official non-recognition in Myanmar, the Wa region has remained a unified entity for over three decades, adeptly avoiding armed conflicts. Speculations abound that the UWSA might be contributing weapons, funds, and manpower not only to Operation 1027 but also to armed groups in Northern Shan, and possibly those in the Karenni region linked to Southern Shan. Recent revelations by the military council about weapons and ammunition seized in the Panglong region of Shan State originating from Wa, bound for Karenni, fuel these speculations.
The emergence of the Wa forces in Operation 1027 underscores the dynamic alliances and shifts in the current Myanmar landscape, with the UWSA standing out as a significant beneficiary of the ongoing operations.