Northern Shan State militias restricted carrying arms

Tu Ja / July 8, 2020

Mongko Militia leader Naw Hkam / The Kachin Post

Most of the ethnic-armed militias based in Burma’s northern Shan State along the Chinese border have been facing unable to hold weapons outside of their residents, a move to ratchet up disbanding the militias by Burma Army.

Several of militias groups from Mongko town were ordered not to carry arms while travelling since early of June 2020, according to the militia member who is in condition of anonymity. He told The Kachin Post that the main reason the armed restriction has imposed on the militias is there has been increasing numbers unregistered armed carrying by the militias and some of the town’s casinos were illegally run by the militias. The other reason is some militia groups give protection for the criminals who are wanted by the Chinese government, he added.

Duwa Naw Hkam led Mongko Poeple’s Militia Force (MPMF) was the first targeted by the Burma Army after they found out the militias in Mongko run illegal casinos and holding unregistered arms, according to the source. Early of last month, Troops from Burma Army confiscated unregistered arms from Mongko, Mongbaw, Moon Lone and Kutkai People’s Militia Force.

He think that it’s a part of Burma Army’s plan to gradually disarming the militias. Currently, Myoma Pansay militia is the only group which is holding arms in public out of a dozen militia groups in northern Shan State. The rest of the northern Shan State militias now are not dare to hold arms in public, he said. Burma Army allied militias are only allowed to carry guns given by the Burma Army. However, most militia groups holding unregistered guns which were purchased through black market.

In March 2020, Burma Army confiscated arms and ammunition from Kawnghka village based Kawnghka People’s Militia Force (KPMF) in Kutkai Township and charged some of the militia leaders with drug related cases, after over a hundred million dollar worth of narcotic drugs and precursor chemicals were confiscated near the militia’s headquarter. KPMF was the largest Kachin militia in northern Shan State among other Kachin militias; Mongbaw, Hpawng Hseng, Mongko, Kutkai and Gangming People’s Militia Force.

A dozen of Burma Army allied People’s Militia Forces are stationing in northern Shan State along the China-Burma border. A total of over 60 People’s Militia Forces are based in all over Shan State.