CHIANG RAI – The United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the people it had brought down from the Sino-Burmese border will not move house back from the Thai-Burmese border areas where it has been allowed to reside since the 1990s, according to well known analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, who is reportedly close to the Wa.
“This land has been won by blood, sweat and tears of the Wa people and its fighters,” he said. “They refuse to forsake it under any pressure.”
The UWSA for 7 long years waged an all-out war against the Mong Tai Army (MTA) led by the late Khun Sa (1926-2007) until a mutiny broke the backbone of his forces and forced him to make peace with Rangoon in 1996.
Three years later, with the blessings of Gen Khin Nyunt, the UWSA forcibly relocated more than 80,000 (125,000 according to a Lahu report) from the north to Mongton and Monghsat townships, opposite Thailand’s Chiangmai and Chiangrai provinces.
“Any territory wrested from the MTA will be yours,” he was often quoted as telling the Wa leaders.
The Wa were later ordered by the Burmese government to return to the Chinese border. The Wa’s refusal has been one of the sour points in their relationship.
“Government forces were unable to fight against Khun Sa so they had asked the Wa to fight for them,” he explained. “To everyone’s surprise at that time, the government had accepted wounded Wa fighters that it had fought for 20 years at its hospitals in Taunggyi, Mingladon and Meikhtila. And had generously supplied them with weapons and ammo.”
According to him, driving wedges among ethnic nationalities to be able to keep them under control and calling it a union is not the answer. “If a genuine union is to be forged, this kind of mindset must be done away with first,” he concluded.