TATMADAW TRUE NEWS INFORMATION TEAM MEETS MEDIA AT PRESS CONFERENCE ON ISSUES ON INTERNAL PEACE, INSURGENTS
NAY PYI TAW September 16
A press conference on movements of ethnic armed organizations in five military command areas during the ceasefire period, progress of internal peace process, and current events in northern Shan State took place at Defence Services Museum in Nay Pyi Taw from 3 pm to 5 pm on 23 August 2019. It was attended by 15 members of Tatmadaw True News Information Team and 49 reporters from 29 media.
Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo started clarification, saying that he would explain breaking of disciplines by ethnic armed organizations from 22 July to 14 August 2019 in five military command areas where ceasefire was condu-cted after releasing the Statement on ceasefire and eternal peace on 21 December 2018. During the aforesaid period, there were no engagements among armed organizations.
There was no clash between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations in Northern Command area. KIA committed movements beyond the designated area 11 times, collected extortion three times and recruited new members once. In North-East Command area, TNLA engaged with the Tatmadaw seven times, acted movements beyond the designated area eight times, and collected extortion once. KIA and TNLA groups engaged with the Tatmadaw once. MNDAA clashed with the Tatmadaw three times and committed movement beyond the designated area once. KIA and MNDAA groups engaged with the Tatmadaw three times. SSA (Wunhai) clashed with the Tatmadaw once, committed move-ments beyond the designated area four times, collected extortion two times and recruited new members two times. RCSS/SSA moved beyond the designated area four times and recruited new members once. They clashed with the Tatma-daw 15 times, committed movements beyond the designated area 17 times, collected extortion three times and recruited new members three times in North-East Command area.
Similar events did not happen in Eastern Command and Triangle Region Command areas. In Eastern Central Command area, RSCC/SSA moved beyond the designated area two times and recruited new members four times. During the period, they clashed with the Tatmadaw 15 times, committed movements beyond the designated area 30 times, collected extortion six times and recruited new members eight times. With regarding to breaking disciplines from 22 July to 14 August 2019, TNLA clashed with the Tatmadaw seven times as the highest amount. There was no clash among armed groups. KIA committed the largest number of movements beyond the designated area with 11 times as well as the most collection of extortion with three times. RCSS was top on the chart of recruiting new members with five times.
During the eight month period, TNLA in engaging with the Tatmadaw 32 times was the most discipline breaking group during the eight month period. RCSS/SSA clashed with TNLA 42 times. TNLA broke the discipline of movements beyond the designa-ted area 215 times. RCSS/SSA was the top collection of extortion 31 times as well as the top recruitment 32 times. During the eight month period, they clashed with the Tatmadaw 112 times and with each other 45 times, committed movements beyond the designated areas 615 times, collected extortion 72 times, and recruited new members 94 times. He said he would like to mention seizures of narcotic drugs. The Tatmadaw seized more than 1,450 kilos of heroin, over 1,760 kilos of opium, more than five kilos of black opium and more than 30 million stimulant tablets across the nation, totally amounting to more than Ks-131billion from 1-1-2018 to 31-12-2018. In this regard, the seizure of narcotic drugs amo-unted to more than Ks-17 billion in North-East Command area, more than Ks-48 billion in Eastern Co-mmand area, more than Ks-15 billion in Triangle Region Command area and more than Ks-27 billion in Western Command area. Moreover, the Tatmadaw seized more than 171 kilos of heroin, more than 230 kilos of opium, more than 60 kilos of black opium and more than 44 million of stimulant tablets across the nation from 1-1-2019 to 15-8-2019, totally amounting to more than Ks-217 billion.
At this juncture, the seizure of narcotic drugs amou-nted to more than Ks-25 billion in North-East Command area, more than Ks-17 billion in Eastern Co-mmand area, more than Ks-17 billion in Eastern Central Command area, more than Ks-35 billion in Triangle Region Command and about Ks-24 billion in Western Command area. With regard to the seizures from 2017 to 15 August 2019, the seizure amounted to more than Ks-7 billion in 2017, more than Ks-48 billion in 2018 and over Ks-25 billion, totally amounting to more than Ks-81 billion from January to 15 August 2019 in North-East Command area. The volume of seized narcotic drugs was large and they were seized from the area of insurgents and their movement areas.
Combating narcotic drug is the national duty of the Tatmadaw. Hence, the Tat-madaw will continue its tasks. Moreover, narcotic drugs were also seized near Ngakwe Village of Namhsam Township at 4.15 pm on 14 August. Over 27 polyethylene bags of stimulant tablets were seized and number of tablets is under scrutiny. The information will be released.
Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said that he would like to explain the attacks of AA, TNLA and MNDAA insurgents along Union Highway in PyinOoLwin and Nawnghkio townships of North-East Command area on 15 August 2019. All media persons have known the events released by newspapers and broadcast by TV news on seizures of 107mm launcher shells connected with battery and wires during the attack on Defence Services Techno-logical Academy in PyinOoLwin on 15 August 2019, blowing up of Goktwin Bridge, and seizure of TNT explosives which were left at the installed areas, and incidents of PyinOoLwin tollgate, narcotic checkpoint and Goktwin Bridge security camp. All have known that information was released on blowing up of Hsenwi-Namhsalet-Kunglon bridges by insurgent groups, blasting a bridge on the road linking Kutkai and Muse, facts about fighting and situations from 16 and 17 August to date.
Every media persons knew some injuries and deaths happened in firing at vehicles of Parahita social association from Lashio with the use of heavy and small weapons. In responding to these events, the Tatmadaw columns engaged with these insurgent groups in performing appropriate security operations. At present, emphasis is being placed on security of Lashio-Muse road. Thanks to concerted efforts in rep-airing, Goktwin Bridge has been back to service.
Three bridges were destroyed on the route from Hsenwi to Kunglon. As it is difficult to transport construction workers to repair the bridge as quickly as possible, Tatmadaw military engineering units repaired one bridge under security measures taken by military units. One bridge is under repairs with 30-50 percent complete. The last one is also under repair. No more attack happens on that route. According to the latest information, the route from Kutkai to Muse is not opened yet. Efforts are being made to open the roads from Kutkai to Namphatkar and from Namphatkar to Muse with the strengths of military units. In so doing, the insurgents who committed insurgent attacks on 15 August retreated to various parts. The Tatmadaw columns are in a hot pursuit of them. Some clashes occurred at Mogok-Momeik area. Hence, the Tatmadaw columns are performing appropriate security operations against the insurgents.
He said he would like to reviewthe aforesaid events. Firstly, he saidthe Tatmadaw received various items of information. The information before the event was also received. In performing military operations in Rakhine region, AA groups spread news that they would move to other military fronts as they were in military failure in Rakhine region. As information on other activities were also received, the Tatmadaw took necessary measures. MNDAA insurgent group ambushed a convoy travelling between Chinshwehaw and Laukkai on 12 August before the August 15 event. As such, it needs to perform concrete assessment for collected information. If not, military units will face undesirable losses. That is why it needs to systematically scrutinize theinformation. Depending on information, relevant military commands were ordered to make necessary preparations. With regard to the sites of events, PyinOoLwin is in Mandalay Region, the central area of Myanmar.
It can be assumed that the town is under the control of full administ-rative mechanism. It is fully under the law and order. It is not place where any conflict could happen. Nawnghkio is similar to that of PyinOoLwin. Moreover, northern Shan State is a place of ceasefire as of December 2018. In reviewing the attempts and targets of insurgents, the place related to the Tatmadaw is PyinOoLwin DSTA alone. The Union Highway is the life blood of the State as well as trade route for the people to do business. The incidents which happened in these areas were worse than the terror attacks. They committed inhumane acts and war crimes which were worse than terror attacks.
For example, they arrested two servicemen on duty at the narcotic checkpoint with tying their hands behind back. Although they needed to take care of arrested soldiers who were not capable to defend, they did not abide by Law. Moreover, they brutally broke off eyes of arrested servicemen and shot dead. Moreover, it was found that they brutally set fire to a civilian alive helping at the narcotic checkpoint. Small and cargo trucks were stopped and extortion was collected from them. And, they opened fire at these vehicles, so some drivers and civilians were killed. They shot and set fire to the fuel station at the entrance to Lashio.
They also fired at the ambulance which drove to the scene for giving a helping hand to the injured. In the battle field, nursing vehicle and the vehicle with sign of ambulance should not be fired at. Now, as they brutally fired the civilian ambulance, the chairman of the youth Parahita association was killed and some persons injured. The event is in the trend of inhumane terrorist acts. Those who blamed the Tatmadaw need to consider it. The armed forces in the international community are formed under the international laws. Myanmar’s Tatmadaw is a force defending the State. In reviewing the event, the Tatmadaw focused on other side without thinking terror attacks in the inner parts of the nation. On one hand, the ceasefire period was extended to the end of August. It aims to open the path for peace talks.
The path is created for political demand and holding ceasefire talks. Based on the experience of the Tatmadaw, the ceasefire should not be performed with careless ending of fire. Those outside the legal fold were invited to the peace talks according to the demand of the State. However, they all need to abide by four of six peace principles included in the paragraph (5) of the Statement, to observe the agreements, not to take profit from the peace agreements, not to be burden on the people and to follow the existing laws.
Moreover, paragraph (6) of the Statement mentioned that ethnic armed organizations were urged to exercise restraint in order to avoid fighting with each other and not to oppress local ethnic people. Paragraph (7) also stated that they were urged to take responsibility not for disturbing the functioning of different levels of government administrative mechanism, smooth transportation and not to harm lives and property of the people in respective areas of military commands in conditions. Setting conditions are based on their acts.
With regard to another point on great losses in narcotic drugs, Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun had explained expenditures of armed groups. So, it is uneasy to set up an armed group. Every person may search such points through Internet. The production cost of 107mm rocket launcher to be fired in connection with battery and wires depends on types ranging from US$-160 to 1,600. One 107mm rocket is sold at more than US$-4,000 or more than 30,000 yuan of China or more than Ks-2.4 million at the black market. In reviewing all incidents, as he sited for firing PyinOoLwin DSTA and number of shooting were scrutinized, insurgents set to open fire with 30 rockets. Six of 30 rockets were left without firing. More than 20 rockets were shot. Rocket exploded areas were inside the DSTA, causing many parts of damage. In the black market, one rocket was valued at about Ks-6 million.
A total of 30 rockets were worth some Ks-180 million. Where did they take that money and arms? Markets will be variety. Their easy source of income to buy weapons is narcotics there was logging. A 10 square feet room and raw materials are just enough to produce stimulant tablets. The amount of their income might have been from producing narcotic drugs. They have small and heavy weapons. The value of even a gun is very much. For the Tatmadaw, it has to weigh on spending budgets as it tries to improve defence power. It has to try hard to produce its own weapons, All have already known the news that an explosion of ammunitions occurred in Mongla in May 2016.
In March this year (2019), there was an explosion at UWSA (Wa group). We got the news that almost the whole town was destroyed with some deaths. Likewise, an explosion occurred in Khwayma region in the east of Mongmaw. We cannot deny the fact that those regions had explosions and accessories. In this Goktwin Bridge case, 30 kilos of high expensives were used. If all the gun powder exploded, the bridge would have been broken into pieces. What they get these things might come from drugs. The places they attacked were all narcotics checkpoints. The drugs seized on 25 and 26 July were worth about Ks-16 billion. Raw materials and modern equip-ment were found. This is one reason while they are being militarily pressured for another reason. The Tatmadaw knows the whereabouts of their headquarters. For, TNLA was allowed to live in Palaung Self-administered Region and MNDAA in Laukkai region.
We know that KIA live in Laiza. Did they follow the conditions of the ceasefire period? As we have mentioned earlier, all the places they attacked were narcotics checkpoints. As Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo has explained, the drugs seized from one single place were worth about Ks-16 billion. There were raw materials and modern machines. They there might have done this in retaliation. AA suffered militarily in Rakhine State following our counter-insurgency attack. In those incidents related to three groups, AA, TNLA and MNDAA, media asked us while we were trying for confirmation.
We immediately got contacts. We considered that this was a coordinated plan. They intentionally attacked to harm the image of the State and the government mechanism. Some talked variously that what mistake the Tatmadaw made. The Tatmadaw acted systemati-cally and precisely. It called for more progress in the peace issue and avoiding any delay even on 14 August. We did invite them. Whether they want to discuss depends on their willingness to achieve peace. Their attacks target Union Highways. Another incident is that we issued a news release yesterday. We also met with the media. The Tatmadaw transported 28 foreigners who were trapped during Kutkai fighting to Yangon via Lashio by Tatmadaw helicopter. UN and INGOs cannot go to conflict areas whenever they wish.
Myanmar does not allow it. The Tamadaw managed to save and send them safely. If something happened to them, there would be pointing fingers at Myanmar and its government. The Tatmadaw has to advise the government when and how such organizations should go to conflict areas. Depending on this, the government will give permission or not. Another fact is that some militias were involved in the eastern part of Kutkai regarding drug seizures. For this, we will take action. There were some officers and other ranks who lost their lives in defending Goktwin police post despite their unyielding effort.
There are also some deaths at the narcotic checkpoint. There were nine deaths. They were immediately promoted for their performances. If necessary, they will be awarded titles and badges. We can say what happened to information availability and security sector is our national cause. As the Union Highway is being blocked, economy, trade and traffic are all cut out. It is the people only who have to suffer day by day. Therefore, all are responsible for getting information and ensuring security. All the media know the definition of building a nation as per the constitution. When a nation is being built, there is division of labour for all of us.
Every citizen has their own duty. In the administra-tive sector also, there are provisions as to how administ rative bodies at various levels must be formed and what they have to do. There are procedures of how to form administrative bodies at various level including government. When it comes to security, there are security organizations. There is every organizational set-up. For defence sector, there are different organizations such as the Tatmadaw. For the third administrative pillar, there are administrative bodies at various levels. There is the law that prescribes duties and responsibilities of them.
The legislative sector has prescribed its own tasks and duties. There are people’s representatives and Defence Service personnel representatives in the Hluttaw. The judicial sector has an organization itself. It has chain of command. They have accountability. Regarding our national cause, national security and public lives and property, all the citizens needs to have theirviews in terms of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. All responsible for these three branches need to perform their own duties step by step.