United Wa State Army (UWSA)
Wa troops move south
19 January 2007 S.H.A.N
Reports of the arrival of ten 10-wheeled trucks of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) on the border last week have triggered a new red alert among Shan and Thai security services.
The trucks arrived in Hwe Aw, Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai, in the dead of night on 11 January. They continued their way to Mongjawd, west of Hwe Aw, on the next day.
While some sources have speculated that the fresh troops were for reinforcements in the Wa bases around the Shan State Army (SSA) South's Loi Taileng base, opposite Maehongson, some are wary about giving comments. "Twice during the last 3 months we had sounded alert of an imminent attack coming from the Burma Army which turned out to be false alarms," said one veteran Burma watcher. "So let me reserve my comments until further information have been received."
It was discovered later that the wolf crying during the period was brought about by the Burma Army's preparations in eastern Shan State for its two-week divisional level maneuvers, 20 December – 4 January, in Mongkok, 100 km northwest of Tachilek. According to the opposition Network for Democracy and Development (NDD) Research Center, the Burma Army's Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command had already conducted two war games since 2005.
Another Thai watcher told S.H.A.N. since there were no signs of a looming offensive on the Shans, the said convoy could be loaded with inmates from the Wa prison at Wanhong, Monghsat township, 49 miles northeast of Mongton. "The Burma Army had earlier issued an order that Wa prisoners in Wanhong and Hwe Aw should be moved out to outlying areas," he said.
The Wa meanwhile maintain that "for the time being" they have no plans to attack the SSA South.
The UWSA had in the past cooperated with the Burma Army against the anti-junta SSA. The last encounter took place in 2005 at Loi Taileng resulting in some 770 casualties on both sides.