Tatmadaw True News Information Team meets media at press conference on issues on internal peace, insurgents(From Previous Day)
Nay Pyi Taw September 18
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.
Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun said. I will tell about seizures of drugs and AA's drug smuggling in Rakhine State. I will tell about the Court of Inquiry working in Rakhine State. The chairman and vice-chairman of the Tatmadaw True News Information Team have explained the reason behind the fighting and narcotic drug cases. A press release was issued that an AA camp was occupied near Chayyadaw Pagoda in Yathedaung Township on 3 August. In the raid, the house of Tagundine Village near the pagoda was searched and about 2.5 million WY tablets (worth about Ks-5 billion), 36 grenades, 52 IC-V8 icons and accessories used in making mines were seized. In conducting investigation, AA insurgents ordered the village administrator. Whenever the Tat-madaw True News Information Team explained acts related to narcotic drugs, AA insurgents refused them. He clearly said AA started concerning with narcotic drugs as of 2016. At 2.20 am on 6 February 2016, acting on tip-off, a vehicle was seized and inspected on U Tun Myat Road in Natmauk Ward of Tamwe Township, Yangon Region. Aung Myat Kyaw of Lt-Col level from AA insurgent group was arrested along with one pistol. After investigating the suspect, 42 sets of military equipment, 80 camouflage rucksacks, 70 haversacks, five binoculars, 21 IC-V8 walkie-talkies and GPS devices were seized. At 3.50 am the same day, U Wai Tha Tun from North Okkalapa Township was also arrested. In searching his house, more than 330,000 WY brand stimulant tablets were seized. According to the investigation, the house where the suspect rehired to live in Hlaingthaya Township, 7,040 bullets of AK-47, magazines, 440 rounds of 12.7mm anti-aircraft gun, smoke grenades and packets of gunpowder were seized from the house. In exposing more suspects, six RPGs, seven pistols and four snipers were seized in excavating the prawn farm of AA insurgent in Kyaukpyu and Yanthitgyi Village in Yanbye Township. In investiga-ting the suspects, they confessed that they have been carrying out these acts since 2014. So, the information on transport of arms was known. Aung Myat Kyaw of Lt-Col level from AA insurgent group was ordered by Tun Myat Naing. At that time, he was married to daughter of U San Kyaw Hla from Arakan National Party (ANP). With regard to the two events, 52 walkie-talkies seized at the house of U San Tha Kyaw were same in IC-V8 Icon type and colours with 21 walkie-talkies seized from U Aung Myat Kyaw. These events can be connected. Then, he requested media. In releasing the information about the Court of Inquiry, information is released in Myanmar and English. Some news agencies released the information in English but wrote it in Myanmar. In writing, the term must be the Court of Inquiry. Some news agencies used it as Investigation Court and Investigation Team. He noted that these are not law terms. The aim of Court of Inquiry is to check root cause of the problems. It was formed to sue those based on evidences. It was formed under the Section 3 of Defence Services Act 1959 and Rule-76 of Defence Services Rules 1960. He requested them to use it as the Court of Inquiry. The video tapes distributed to reporters comprise reconstruction of Goktwin Bridge and interviews with local people on actual incidents in Naunghkio. A total of 15 people participated in the interview, including seven residents in Naunghkio. The interview with those persons witnesses to a clear explanation about the incident, including the attitude of local people towards the Tatmadaw. It is impossible to make decision based on the posts on social pages by fake accounts. The interview provided real information. During the interview with the seven residents, only one resident requested for concealing his face in the video while the rest six residents said they do not want to conceal their faces in the video although the interviewers said their face will be hidden in the video for their security. The faces of those participated in the interview tell that the interview is real. The vice-chairman already told about the news with respect to foreigners in Kutkai. Regarding this, videos which included the interviews with foreigners will be spread to the media. So, many guards were deployed in a trip to send those foreigners to a safe place. In order to transport the foreigners, the helicopter left Kengtung for Kutkai at about 9 am. when a heavy engagement was occurred at a place located four-five miles from Kutkai between Kutkai and Namphatkar. In this situation, the helicopter is difficult to land safely. While the Tatmadaw was solving the transportation problem, some troops were deployed on hillocks to take security measure. Actually, the return of helicopter from Kutkai is problematic. Troops were deployed on hillocks near the heliport and along the approached route to take security measure. The leader of the stranded foreigners clarified difficulties they faced and capability of the Tatmadaw.
Reply to the queries raised by media
Reporter Htet Naing Zaw from the Irrawaddy News Agency asked about the extension of ceasefire period.
Maj- Gen Soe Naing Oo replied to the question that a notice has been issued on 14 June to effectively implement the peace building tasks during the set ceasefire period for eternal peace. The extension of ceasefire period depends mainly on performances of those groups.
Reporter Htet Naing Zaw from the Irrawaddy News Agency continued his question that he wants to know the flow of information ahead of the attacks in garrison as well as the movement of MNDAA prior to the attacks. Did the Tatmadaw estimate the probability of facing the attacks in the area? Some people are blaming that this is linked to the abolishment of guest registration law. Could you please answer which laws and management will protect people in the future?
Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi answered the question that PyinOoLwin is not a garrison and the town is governed by an administrative body. Usually, a concrete assessment is made on the information. The example case is Thura Ma Chit Po from Military Engineer Battalion who was killed in 1949 when the country was facing threats of multicoloured insurgents. Earlier, there were security projects in each township and at each administrative department. Collaborative security measures were made by the town’s authorities and the Tatmadaw. Coordination meetings were held by information teams comprising members of the Tatmadaw and Myanmar Police Force, departmental officials and town’s elders once a week. At the meetings, they discussed not only security affairs but also rules of law. Thanks to it, unusual cases occurred in the region were also discussed among them. Discussions in the meeting were reported to the respective military departments, Myanmar Police Force and general administrative bodies. The respe-ctive departments always made assessments on the reported cases. Thanks to the system, it is easy to know the current situations in the ground. The security measures for fire and disasters are also made through step-by-step approaches.
There was the Emergency Provisions Act which was revoked on 4 October 2016 by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Also, the Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts was revoked on 26 May in 2016 by the President. The matters relating to the guest registration contained in the Third Amendment of the Ward and Village Tract Administration Law. It is not a specific law for guest registration. The Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens was newly enacted. The aforesaid laws were enacted based on the necessary of the country. Every law has objectives. The objectives of the enactment of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act are mentioned in the law clearly. A law to protect the country from the dangers of destructive elements was enacted in 1975. Its goal is stated under the heading. The law was enacted to safeguard the State against the dangers of those desiring to cause subversive acts. The law is to protect the citizens Section10 sub-section(b), which is the main fact of the Amendment of Ward or Village Tract Administration Law, states that the previous Section13 sub-section(g) shall be revoked, receiving and granting the information of guest list for overnight guests from other ward or village tract, inspecting the guest list and taking action if failed to inform the guest list. In fact, these laws are for implementing the security system and community security measures. These are excellent for people who observe the law. These laws can be amended to meet with the democracy norms and in accordance with the age. As the law stated dos and don’ts for the people, no stranger dared enter a village or a ward, let along the armed insurgents. As the security of the State and sovereignty, State mechanism, administrative mechanism and the task of the responsible bodies are of vital importance, necessary measures shall be taken for the safety of life and property of the people. The latest enacted law demonstrated the importance of getting permission. So, lawmakers should have a broader political, defence and economic knowledge. The administrative bodies will take various security measures to protect the community, transport facilities and industries. The judicial sector will have to take effective action against the lawbreakers. Inclusive involvement of citizens is required. The most important part is the spirit of unity to serve the national interest.
Reporter Htet Naing Zaw of Irrawaddy news agency said as a group TNLA made a well plan to attack three, four or five places in PyinOoLwin and Naunghkio. So, they need manpower and military strength to do so. Tatmadaw has any idea about any support from behind the scene? It will be not easy for the group to launch such attacks alone. So, the group may be launching the attack with the help of an alliance or a neighbouring country or any large group that has influence over it. Do you have any information about it?
In answering the question, Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said the group is committing destructive acts against the interest of the people. The group made arrangements and organized men at a huge cost. The volume of work was high. What I wish to answer is that they have backing from organizations that are against the interest of our country. If these quarters are in favour of our interest, they would not help the group. So, I would say that those who are against the State and people, those who want to destroy our country and its interest are behind the group.
Reporter Htet Naing Zaw of Irrawaddy news agency asked whether there are attempts to hold talks with those groups. Yesterday, the Senior General met with the Chinese Ambassador. The discuss-ions included the Chinese proposal to help in the negotiations. So, what is the China’s role?
In answering the question, Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said he thinks that this question is against the answers. If we study the example of the existence of a country and its fall, we will have to think about its existence. There are political terms such as geo-politics, real politics and power politics. In politics there are the definitions and theories, which originate in history. It is very difficult for a country to survive.So, citizens should value their country whose survival is difficult. There are many kinds of political trends and threats. The must-be-held policy of the country is the peaceful co-existence.The country has adopted a policy to maintain friendship with the neighbouring and global countries. It is extending friendly relations with every country. China is a neighbour. It has provided much assistance.It is also providing help for peace negotiations. No one can choose a neighbour. Good relations are important. Everybody has the duty.
Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo also answered the question, saying the Tatmadaw has held the ceasefire to hold the political dialogue. The ceasefire has rules and they must be observed. The one who breaks the rules is responsible for its actions. There must be no recruitment, area establishment during the ceasefire. According to the rules, there must be no area intrusion, extortion, recruitment, drug trafficking. Peace is welcomed if there are no offences. Peace process is a policy of the Tatmadaw, and it is working in accord with the peace process.
Reporter U Aye Min of Tomorrow journal asked whether the shootings that occurred on 15 August have any impact on the future peace dialogue.
Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo said the answer to the question has already been given.
Reporter Sithu Naing of Thuriya Naywun journal said AA insurgents attacked four outposts on 14 January 2017. After the top leaders of the Tatmadaw met, an announcement was issued. Is there any plan to issue an announcement in connection with the incident occurred on 15 August? It is heard that TNLA members included Wa troops and Chinese mercenaries. So, I wish to know whether it is true or not.
Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said U Zaw Htay has already held a press meet in connection with the 15 August incident.
Reporter Min Min of Mizzima news agency said he wants to know whether the government, especially the President and the State Counsellor made any instruction in connection with the recent attacks of the three northern alliances. There is a lot of fake news in connection with the event. There are news reports saying that the State Counsellor has instructed to wipe them out. Has she made any instruction about the matter?
Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said spokesman of government U Zaw Htay has already explained the matter. It is more appropriate to ask U Zaw Htay.
Reporter Sithu Naing of Thuriya Naywun journal said he wants to know whether Chinese mercenaries and Wa troops were included in TNLA insurgents.
Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said the case is still under scrutiny. According to various news reports, it is learnt that the insurgents included Chinese speakers, and persons who did not understand Shan or Bamar language.Such a situation was also found in Laukkai. But, some of the EAOs and the MNDAA speak Chinese.
Maj-Gen Soe Naing Oo also answered that according to international events, the best thing is to solve the internal security of the defence and security affairs within the country. If the internal problem is dealt as an international issue, the country will face undesirable consequences including the problems in connection with sovereignty. Political dissatisfaction is being solved through the armed struggle line. But, political dialogue can convey them to federal democracy, they aspired. The best thing is to solve the internal problem internally. There will be more dangers if it is turned into an international issue.
Reporter Min Min of Mizzima news agency said theUN Fact Finding Mission released its latest report last night. The report includes lot of accusations, especially the sexual abuses said to be committed by the Tatmadaw. About three or four pages are the accusations. The Tatmadaw has any comments about the accusations?
In his answer, Maj-Gen Tun Tun Nyi said the Fact-Finding Mission issues statements as the UN Human Rights Council. On August 5, 2019, the independent international fact finding mission on Myanmar identified business connections of Tatmadaw and issued a statement, calling for sanctions. The Foreign Affairs Ministry in response released a statement on August 6. The statement said that human council overstepped its authority and violated procedures by establishing fact-finding mission; and that Myanmar will not recognize either the fact finding mission or its report. And it issued another statement yesterday. Here, I would like to address associated issues. On 21, 22 August, reports surfaced that Tatmadaw is forcing people to work as porters for it in Rakhine State. And yesterday, the UN fact finding mission again called for justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. U Hauk Doe Swan has talked about this to the RFA, and it has been answered. It is even difficult to mention certain things in the report due to their sensitivity considering the culture and national characteristics of Myanmar.
The report includes words which are culturally sensitive for Myanmar people. As a member of the Myanmar society that cherishes traditional cultural values, it is even difficult for me to read out the terms used in their statement. I don’t want to read it. The report accused the Tatmadaw of committing the wide-spread and systematic killing of women and girls, the systematic selection of women and girls of reproductive ages for rape, attacks on pregnant women and on babies, the mutilation and other injuries to their reproductive organs, the physical branding of their bodies by bite marks on their cheeks, neck, breast and thigh, and so severely injuring victims that they may be unable to have sexual intercourse with their husbands or to conceive and leaving them concerned that they would no longer be able to have children.” We don’t recognize that report. Regarding sexual assault, there are Section 354, 376 and 509 of Penal Code in Republic of the Union of Myanmar. These articles deal with rape, trafficking in persons and domestic violence. Defence Services Act 1959 is also in force for Tatmadaw soldiers. Tatmadaw soldiers also have to abide by Penal Code. Should Tatmadaw soldiers commit sexual violence, they are given fitting punishment. Capacity building workshops have been held for Tatmadaw soldiers to protect human rights, and sexual violence prevention lessons are being taught at Tatmadaw training schools. Lawmakers, human rights commission and media have also been making collaborative efforts to prevent sexual violence. In our country, both Tatmadaw and the government take a tough line on sexual violence. Regarding the forced labour, Myanmar signed in1955 ILO Forced Labour Convention 29. Myanmar signed Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182) on 18 December 2013. Therefore, measures have been taken to ensure there is no forced labour in Myanmar. For example, in 2012, the Office of Commander-in-Chief (Army)issued an instruction that bars all the military units from forcing civilians to work as porters. On 12 June, 2012, a similar instruction was issued that bans the use of inmates as porters in conflict zones.
Similarly, On April 4, 2012, the Judge Advocate General Office and the Adjutant General Office issued an instruction that prohibits forced recruitment and forced labour in building military outposts. Another instruction was issued in June 2012, calling on all the military units not to force civilians to work for building and maintaining military outposts. All the military units have to follow laws, regulations and instructions in place. Punitive actions will be taken if there is any violation. While there are increased criticisms about human rights violations, every Tatmadaw soldier has to abide by 60-point military code of conduct, and no Tatmadaw solider will be forgiven and there will be no impunity if there are human rights violations against civilians. Strict regulations are being imposed. Not to mention assault against women, punitive actions are taken strictly even for fighting between Tatmadaw soldiers themselves. Accusations by the Fact Finding Mission are baseless. Don’t those so-called experts understand and respect our sovereignty and laws? Such interference is unacceptable. Whether you are working for a local media or a foreign media, we are all citizens. Everyone has the responsibility to joint hands to take care of security and sovereignty of the country and citizens. There have been one-sided reports against media law and ethics due to international pressures. As members of the media are Myanmar citizens, I would like to request you to consider the interests of the country.
To be continued