SSNPLO members pressured to disarm

Aug 7, 2008 (DVB), The ceasefire group the Shan State Nationalities People’s Liberation Organisation has surrendered its arms to the Burmese military due to pressure from SPDC commanders, according to former members of the group.

Khun Kywe Hton, a member of the SSNPLO breakaway group the PaO National Liberation Organisation, said more than 100 members of the ceasefire group in southern Shan state’s See Sai township, led by major Soe Aung Lwin, were pressured to disarm by regional military troops to whom they surrendered their weapons on Sunday.

"They were pressured by Taung Gyi-based Northeast Military Command deputy regional commander major Chit Oo, Military Affairs Security Unit’s major Win Bo and a strategic commander who arrived at the SSNPLO outpost in See Sai’s Naung Htaw with troops from battalions 426 and 250," Khun Kywe Hton said.

"They then told the SSNPLO members they could either surrender their weapons or prepare to defend themselves , and they chose to surrender."

Khun Kywe Hton said the SSNPLO was now left with no hope for the future as the government battalions have set up permanent outposts in Naung Htaw.

This disarmament of the SSNPLO came after the group’s president U Takleh was summoned to a meeting in Taung Gyi recently with commanders of the Eastern Military Command who pressured him to surrender the group’s weapons.

The SSNPLO, informally known as the Red PaOs due to their leftist stance, made a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government in 1994 and attended the regime's National Convention.

Last year, the group broke up into small factions and a small group led by U Chit Maung surrendered to government troops while another 100-strong group led by major Thurein went back to the Thai-Burmese border to continue their armed rebellion and later declared themselves the PaO National Liberation Organisation.

Earlier this year, another 80 members broke away from the SSNPLO and joined the PaO National Army led by Aung Kham Hti.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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