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The United Wa State Army (UWSA) is reportedly reinforcing its troops in Mongla after recently seizing control of strategic positions from the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) in the self-administered region of northern Shan State.
According to Sai Murng, the chief editor of the Shan Herald Agency for News, the Wa army sent reinforcements and supplies to hill stations recently seized from the NDAA on 4- 5 October.
“According to the latest developments we have heard, the UWSA has been increasing its troop strength and supplies to the hill stations they seized recently from the Mongla,” said Sai Murng. “The fresh soldiers – estimated at over 150 – arrived in six Chinese-made military trucks, along with supplies, weapons and ammunition.”
He said there are currently around 800 UWSA troops on the ground in the Mongla region.
The UWSA on 28 September moved in militarily on the Mongla autonomous region, despite the fact the NDAA is its neighbour and longstanding ally. The Wa units took control of NDAA outposts in Loi Samsong, Loi Kyusa and Pan Phat Mai, capturing more than 150 Mongla troops.
According to the Shan Herald, the UWSA incursion into Mongla was led by 468th Brigade commander Bao Ai Ban, nephew of UWSA leader Bao Youxiang.
Meanwhile, the NDAA’s political advisor Than Soe Naing told DVB that there has in fact been a presence of UWSA troops in the Mongla region since 2009.
“There have been hundreds of UWSA troops operating inside our Mongla region since 2009, so an increase in troop strength is not really all that alarming. Nevertheless, it is important that the leaderships of both sides speak about this,” said Than Soe Naing.
In 2009, the NDAA was put under pressure by the Burmese military to transform its battalions into a Border Guard Force militia. The UWSA answered the Mongla militia’s call for support and deployed around 3,000 troops to the region.