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Hundreds of ethnic Shan, Lahu, Chinese and Thai businesspeople, including some families of United Wa State Army (UWSA) personnel, have moved to the Thai-Burmese border area because they fear a serious flare-up of fighting between Burmese government troops and UWSA units based in southern Shan State.
Several thousand UWSA soldiers and their families live in southern Shan State opposite Fang District of Thailand's Chiang Mai Province. The UWSA, which has about 25,000 men in uniform, is under pressure from the Burmese regime to become a border guard force.
Fears over clashes between the Burmese army and a proxy force have in the past two days caused an exodus of Karen refugees to Burma’s border with Thailand.
The refugees, many of whom are from Kawkerit township in eastern Karen state, which borders Thailand, have reportedly been arriving in small groups since 27 April. There are fears of fighting between Burmese troops and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which according to rumours is resisting demands to become a border guard unit.
The New Mon State Party is making preparations in case war breaks out between it and the Burmese Army, after its militia under ceasefire rejected the junta’s order for it to be brought under the command of the Border Guard Force, a spokesman said.
Myanmar state media urged revellers at annual water festivities to be on guard Friday after bomb blasts killed eight people at a park in the military-ruled country's biggest city.
State media said 170 people were wounded in the park, where thousands of people were gathered for water-throwing festivities to mark the Buddhist New Year.
A series of grenade blasts hit a hydropower project in Burma on Tuesday, wounding four workers in the latest unrest in the military-ruled country, officials said.
The attacks occurred at the Thaukyegat hydropower plant under construction in Bago division, about 220 kilometres (137 miles) northeast of the country’s main city Rangoon, a local official told AFP.
One of Burma's biggest ethnic armies, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's grenade attack on a hydropower plant in eastern Burma's Karenni state.
The attack on the Thaukyegat plant, run by the Asian World Corporation, injured four workers. Saw Mae Ae Sein, commander of KNLA Brigade 2, said that an elite unit was yesterday sent to the dam site to carry out the attack.
Troops from the 10,000-strong KNLA launched rockets and heavy weapons at the dam site, while the Burmese army returned fire. The fight last for about an hour, Saw Mae Ae Sein said.
"There were no casualties on our side but there were some on the government side, as well as some damage to their buildings."
April 28, 2010: In the east, a man being questioned (but apparently not searched) by police in a police station, set off a bomb he was carrying. The bomber was killed and four policemen wounded.
The Burma Army was also reported to have kept reinforcing more forces, supplies and weapons to its bases on the Salween facing the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Its Light Infantry Division (LID) #33 was reported to have already taken positions in Tangyan Township, west of the UWSA’s 418th Brigade.
Latest unconfirmed report says a Burma Army patrol in Mongyai Township in Shan State North was ambushed by an unknown number of SSA North troops this morning wounding 1.
The 4th brigade of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) based in Northeast Shan State, is being closely monitored by the Burmese Army using the people’s militia, said a resident.
Burmese troops are on the lookout for two battalions of the Loikang-based KIA’s 4th brigade which moved a few days ago. It is using the people militia for surveillance, the local added.
There are four battalions-- No. 2, No. 8, No.9 and No.17 under the command of the KIA’s 4th brigade.
Soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force have killed three suspected Wa insurgents believed to be trying to smuggle illicit drugs in a pre-dawn clash near the border with Burma.
The clash yesterday erupted 500 metres from the border line after rangers waited overnight to intercept the smugglers. Three suspected members of the United Wa State Army were killed in the 20-minute gunfight.
Minority rebel groups in Burma need cash from the sale of drugs to buy weapons to resist Burmese government forces
Military Operations Commands (MOC, or Sa Ka Kha), commanded by a Brigadier-General, are similar to infantry divisions in Western Armies. Each consists of 10 Infantry battalions (Chay Hlyin Tatyin), HQ and organic support units including field artillery batteries.
Military Operations Command 1 (headquarters at Kyaukme, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 2 (headquarters at Mong Nawng, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 3 (headquarters at Mogaung, Kachin State)
Military Operations Command 4 (headquarters at Phugyi, Yangon Division)
Military Operations Command 5 (headquarters at Taung-gup, Rakhine State)
Military Operations Command 6 (headquarters at Pyinmana, Mandalay Division)
Military Operations Command 7 (headquarters at Phekon, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 8 (headquarters at Dawei, Tanintharyi Division)
Military Operations Command 9 (headquarters at Kyauktaw, Rakhine State)
Military Operations Command 10 (headquarters at Kyeekone, Mandalay Division)
Military Operations Command 12 (headquarters at Kawkareik, Kayin State)
Military Operations Command 13 (headquarters at Bokpyin, Tanintharyi Division)
Military Operations Command 14 (headquarters at Mongsat, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 15 (headquarters at Buthidaung, Rakhine State)
Military Operations Command 16 (headquarters at Theinni, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 17 (headquarters at Mongpan, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 18 (headquarters at Mong-hpyat, Shan State)
Military Operations Command 19 (headquarters at Ye, Mon State)
Military Operations Command 20 (headquarters at Kawthaung, Tanintharyi Division)
Military Operations Command 21 (headquarters at Bhamo, Kachin State)
Light Infantry Division (Chay Myan Tat Ma), commanded by a Brigadier-General, each with 10 Light Infantry Battalions organised under 3 Tactical Operations Commands, commanded by a Colonel, (3 battalions each and 1 reserve), 1 Field Artillery Battalion, 1 Armour Squadron and other support units.
Several skirmishes broke out between the Burmese army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) on Thursday near the Kokang capital, Laogai, in northeast Shan State, as tension between Naypyidaw and the ethnic Kokang ceasefire group boiled over.
The MNDAA, led by Chairman Peng Jiasheng, was reportedly joined in a counteroffensive against the Burmese army by its military allies, National Democratic Alliance Army, also known as the Mong La group, and the United Wa State Army (UWSA).
According to sources on the Sino-Burmese border, gunfire was exchanged between the Burmese army and the ethnic ceasefire groups at three different bases near the Kokang stronghold of Laogai for several hours on Thursday.
The sources said the Kokang troops and their allies took back one base from the Burmese army. No casualties were reported.
“The clashes occurred between the Burmese troops and the Kokang Battalion 7 near Laogai,” said Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese military analyst based on the Sino-Burmese border.
Also on Thursday, gunfire broke out briefly in Yanlon, a town near Laogai, when a unit of MNDAA soldiers encircled a group of Burmese policemen who exchanged fire before escaping to the Chinese side of the border, according to sources on the Sino-Burmese border.
The skirmish came after about 1,000 soldiers of the Burmese armed forces, or Tatmadaw, seized the Kokang stronghold of Laogai without a shot being fired on Monday night.
Recent tensions had escalated leading up to the fall of Laogai with a drugs raid on the house of Peng Jiasheng, and a military build-up by the Burmese army in the area
About 700 Chinese troops have been deployed along the Sino-Burmese border for security reasons
China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has recently deployed more troops along its southwestern border with Burma, where tension remains high between Burmese government forces and the ethnic Wa army over the ethnic group's refusal to join the military junta's border guard force (BGF).
Sources close to the Wa said more PLA troops had been deployed in areas bordering Wa strongholds controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which has at least 20,000 soldiers. China has also deployed air defense units, according to the sources.
“We estimate that five PLA brigades [some 5,000 troops] have been deployed,” said one border source.
A Burma Army unit was reportedly attacked by an unknown group yesterday 29 April, killing one and wounding one while it was on the way to reinforce troops in Shan State North’s Tangyan Township, west of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) controlled territory, according to sources from the Sino-Burma border.
The incident took place at 12:30 between Hoya village tract and Loi Ngeun (Silver Mountain), that forms the northern border of the Shan State Army (SSA) ‘North’’s Brigade No.1 controlled areas and south of the junta-back Manpang militia force controlled areas. The unit was identified as Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) # 326 based in Tangyan.
The SSA liaison officer in Lashio was summoned to meet the commander of the Northeastern Region Command on that day as soon as the incident was reported. The officer was told by the commander to inform his group to take responsibility for the incident. If the group refused to, it would face a military operation.
“It is obvious that they blame us because we have yet to accept its program as its wants,” said a senior officer from the First Brigade. “But the First Brigade’s policy doesn’t allow fighters to shoot first unless they are attacked.”
Rumours are emerging of a possible split among the pro-junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) following resistance by certain factions to government pressure to transform into a Border Guard Force (BGF).
Reports have said that large sections of the DKBA are ready to reject the government’s proposals that seek to assimilate ethnic ceasefire armies into the Burmese army as ‘border guards’, with the provision of having junta commanders inserted at brigade level.
Due to disagreements within the DKBA, it appears that the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has increased troop numbers and begun war preparations in areas controlled by the DKBA, including the groups 5th Brigade territory commanded by Colonel Saw Lah Bwe, who opposed the BGF plans. In response to this, Brigade 5 has begun stepping up preparations in its own side.
The DKBA’s 999 Brigade, under the command of Chit Htoo, has accepted the BGF and will most likely stick by their government overlords. Meanwhile, its 5th Brigade did not attend a recent meeting with the government to discuss the transformation.
Despite earlier reports that the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) might reject the Burmese junta's border guard force (BGF) proposal and reunite with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), rejection of the BGF proposal is uncertain and reunification with the KNLA appears unlikely. Col Chit Thu, the commander of DKBA Battalion 999 and the DKBA's most powerful military commander, is reportedly in favor of joining the BGF. Saw Lar Pwe, the commander of Battalion 907, is reportedly against joining.
Also opposed to joining the BGF is U Thuzana, the DKBA's spiritual leader and the influential abbot of Myaing Gyi Ngu monastery, who has reportedly persuaded many others to join him in opposition.
According to a KNLA source in southern Karen state, the DKBA and KNLA struck a peace deal last week, implying that the DKBA would reject the BGF proposal, but since then nothing has changed.
Burmese military officials have told junta-controlled local militias in Myawaddy Township to be on high alert following the expiration on April 28 of the deadline for armed ethnic militias to join the junta's border guard force (BGF).
According to unconfirmed reports from Myawaddy Township, three battalions from the Burmese Army passed through Myawaddy early this week on their way to areas in Kyarinseik Gyi Township, which is controlled by DKBA Brigade 5.
Two bombs exploded in Myitkyina, the capital of Burma’s northern Kachin State today at around 11 a.m. local time, but there was no casualty or damage, reports the Kachin News Group reporter in the capital. No one has claimed responsibility for the Myitsone blasts so far. However local people believe the ruling Burmese junta triggered the blasts.