Village heads in Ywangan township, Danu Self-Administered Zone, have been told by soldiers that each of their territories must deliver 13 men to join a pro-junta militia that the military is naming “The Danu Army”.
The order was given in a letter delivered by military-appointed local administrators.
Local businessmen, and leaders of both the Danu National Democracy Party (DNDP) and the historically pro-military Pao-O National Organization (PNO) are helping form the group, locals told DVB.
“The action could make the current crisis worse in the region. Most locals think the Danu Army is another ethnic armed organization due to the lack of information. Interest in joining the group is growing,” a local source said.
A political analyst who spoke to DVB expressed their concern over the creation of a force unrepresentative of the will of the Danu people.
“The army has an established strategy of getting members of the same ethnic group to kill each other. If it succeeds here, Danu people will slaughter each other, opening the area up to military suppression. Despite adopting the Danu Army name, it is obvious that the group will be a pro-junta militia. Locals need to understand it will create chaos in the region,” the analyst said.
The former chairman of the DNDP, Khin Maung Cho, claimed that he is not involved in the formation of the armed group, stating: “The army will probably be formed, but nobody should get in trouble because of me.”
Junta-appointed officials in southern Shan have increased efforts to encourage local people to join pro-military Pyusawhti militias over previous months, according to locals. The same sources said they believe that, by devising new names for armed groups, soldiers are merely attempting to “rebrand” such efforts.