17 : Renegade Shan commander wants to be reinstated
31 August 2006
Assured that his life would not be endangered when and if he goes back to the Shan State Army [SSA] South, its former 758th Brigade commander and later Commander-in-Chief of its splinter group SSA-Central has set the reinstatement of his former position as a condition for his return, according to a senior SSA source.
Col Moengzuen welcomed by Brig-Gen Thaung Aye, Commander of Eastern Region Command, on 16 July 2006
[Moengzuen] said on the phone that he was speaking in accordance with the decision taken at a 4-day [24-27 August] meeting with his top members, the SSA officer who wished to remain incognito told S.H.A.N. If this condition is not accepted, he said, he would have no choice but to go back to the Burma Army.
Lt-Col Moengzuen was promoted to full colonel soon after he declared his allegiance to the then newly-formed Interim Shan Government [ISG] on 25 April last year. However, in a surprise move, he negotiated with his erstwhile enemy the Burma Army and surrendered on 29 June. His return to the legal fold ceremony was held in Laikha on 16 July. Then, in another no less surprise move, he returned to the armed struggle earlier this month.
Since then the Burma Army, SSA and the ISG have been opening doors for him to return to the fold. One ISG adviser, concurring with the SSA officer, has even suggested that the SSAs Lt-Col Pawng Khurh, who has taken over Moengzuens former operational area in southern Shan State, should clear out.
At the time of this reporting, patience appears to be wearing thin in both the Burma Army and the SSA camps. According to an unconfirmed SSA report, the Burma Army had since 26 August been disarming Moengzuens remnant militia and its leaders: Sai Htoy, Tun Kyaw and Hsengkhurh. Their walkie-talkies have also been taken away, said another SSA source, since they had failed to put them to good use by convincing Moengzuen to return.
On the other hand, the SSA has also warned Moengzuen he has only until the end of August to make up his mind. If hes still running wild after that, well have to take steps, said the officer. He declined to elaborate.
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