Unprecedented Surrender in Northern Shan State Raises Questions

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 06, 2024 by MoeMaKa Media

Unprecedented Surrender in Northern Shan State Raises Questions

In an unusual turn of events, six Brigadier Generals, commanders of over 2,000 military personnel from the Regional Operation Command Headquarters, who surrendered to Kokang forces from Laukkaing, were transported via helicopters from Wa to Lashio City on January 6, where the Northeastern Regional Military Command Headquarters is situated.

The surrender unfolded after two weeks of intense fighting in Laukkaing, the capital of the Kokang Autonomous Region, with the Kokang armed forces attacking the DaKaSa headquarters. A day prior to the surrender, an incident occurred in Namhsan, a border town in China’s Yunnan Province, resulting in five Chinese nationals being injured by a shell from the Myanmar side. Some speculate that this incident prompted China to exert pressure on both the military council and the Kokang armed groups to cease attacks on the Chinese border.

A spokesperson from the military council mentioned that the decision to surrender was made considering the China-Myanmar friendship and the safety of family members stationed at the DaKaSa headquarters. However, the selective consideration for family members in this incident, as opposed to previous attacks where family members’ safety wasn’t factored in, raises questions about the rationale behind such decisions.

The surrender of Laukkaing DaKaSa Headquarters was atypical compared to previous instances. Notably, only weapons and ammunition were seized, while the rest were allowed to return to the nearest military headquarters of the military council to avoid being taken as prisoners of war. The subsequent transportation of the six Brigadier Generals to Lashio by helicopter marked an unprecedented negotiation in surrender incidents. The Kokang armed group agreed to facilitate the departure of nearly 2,400 soldiers and over 1,600 family members from the Kokang region. The success of relocating DaKaSa headquarters from their region was considered a significant accomplishment by the Kokang armed group, possibly influenced by China’s mediation.

With the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) reclaiming control of the entire Kokang region after 2009, it appears that the primary goal of the Kokang armed group in Operation 1027 has been achieved. The larger objective of eradicating the military dictatorship system and addressing online fraud gangs might be secondary to the regional goal of reclaiming cities and camps in the Kokang Autonomous Region surrendered since 2009.

As the 3 northern armed groups continue to capture cities to confront the military council troops within their territories, their responsibility for attacking and seizing cities like Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon is yet unclear. However, the defeat of military council troops in northern Shan has significantly impacted the morale of these troops, leading to simultaneous attacks on military council forces by other ethnic armed forces and People’s Defense Force (PDF) groups in the region.

The military council is expected to attempt to recover its fighting morale, seeking a ceasefire with the 3 Brotherhood Alliances, facilitated by China. The next steps will be crucial, as common political agreement and joint military actions among anti-military council forces could lead to a swift defeat of the military council. Conversely, prioritizing individual interests, ethnicity-based concerns, and the objectives of each armed group might prolong the armed conflict. The complex landscape calls for strategic cooperation to effectively counter the military council and hasten Myanmar’s journey towards lasting stability.