Security has tightened along both the Yangon-Ye-Dawei-Myeik highway and the Asia Highway due to a tour being undertaken by the SAC’s second-in-command to Tanintharyi, local people disclosed to DVB.
“I heard that Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win is taking a trip to Tanintharyi, and many soldiers are guarding him. I am not sure if the troops are there for his security or for launching another attack, so we are watching the situation,” a local PDF member said.
Rubber plantation workers in the area say they are also concerned about the military’s movements and fear being infiltrated by plainclothes informants.
Soe Win is believed to have been engaged in a morale-boosting tour of bases in Tanintharyi Region and Mon State since May 1; two regions where fights are intensifying and administrative control is believed to be finely poised between the military and resistance groups.
Sources in the military and groups aiding the defection of soldiers have claimed that morale amongst Burma Army regulars is declining across the country, and that the number of soldiers choosing to flee from postings has risen significantly in recent months. The parallel National Unity Government, in addition to offering rewards to defectors, recently said it would pay soldiers who sabotaged military vehicles, aircraft, vessels, and equipment or delivered them to resistance groups.
Min Aung Hlaing’s number two allegedly visited the Tanintharyi towns of Bokpyin, Kyunsu, Myeik, Maw Tone Gyi, and Zardat Gyi on May 1 and then traveled to Myeik, Mawlamyine, Thanbyuzayat, and Ye townships on May 3. It is believed that he will visit the isolated Andaman Coco Island naval base on May 5 and return to Naypyidaw on May 7, sources had been informed.