ASEAN Beat | Security | Southeast Asia
Two Myanmar security forces captured by resistance groups made some startling revelations about working conditions in the government and their perception about the ongoing conflict.
The military regime in Myanmar formed after the coup on February 1, 2021, will be defeated by the opposition, said two security personnel captured by resistance groups in the country’s Chin State.
In an interview given to The Diplomat on February 3 at a hideout of Chinland Defense Force (CDF) Thantlang in Chin State, the captured personnel – one each from the army and police – said that “whoever has the support of the people will win the war.”
When asked to spell out specifically what they meant, the police officer said that the junta would be toppled by the resistance organizations in the ongoing war in the country. He added that international support would also be crucial in deciding the outcome of the conflict.
The duo was part of a six-member squad of the army and police apprehended in the abandoned town of Thantlang on February 1, 2023, by a combined team of the Chin National Army (CNA) and Chin Defense Force Thantlang. Salai Htet Ni, spokesperson of Chin National Front (the political arm of the CNA), informed the media that the soldiers were taken by “surprise” and there was a lieutenant among them who was the “squadron commander.” He said that seven rifles and a pistol were seized from the group.
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Clashes between regime forces and the resistance groups erupted at Thantlang in western Myanmar on September 19, 2021 and have continued sporadically ever since, resulting in killings and burning of houses by the military.
The six men were awaiting trial at a hideout deep in the hills of Thantlang when permission was granted by the CNA-CDF Thantlang to interview the captives. Two of the six agreed to sit for an interview; they declined the option to obscure their faces.
The two men identified themselves as a 23-year-old private in the Myanmar Army and a 36-year-old police lieutenant. Responding to queries, they made some startling revelations about the working conditions in the government departments and their perception about the ongoing conflict in the country.
They claimed that salaries were not paid to them regularly, which reflects the dire financial situation of the State Administration Council (SAC) established by the military to govern the country. They also said they had “lost trust” in the military regime and that no progress for the country would be possible under the SAC.
Both of them disclosed during the interview that houses were burned in Thantlang on the instructions of a captain who chooses his own squad for the task. However, they had varied opinions about the atrocities committed by the military at other locations in the country. The army private said that he had read reports but was unable to confirm if they were authentic. The policeman, however, said he started to believe the reports after witnessing the conduct of the captain under whom he was stationed in the town.
At the time of the interview, the two men were awaiting the outcome of their trial by resistance forces. The army private said he would join the fight against the regime after he was set free from captivity. The police lieutenant was hopeful about being released since he had not committed any crime. He told The Diplomat that he would reunite with his family after being released from the custody of the resistance groups.
Information received last month from Chin State suggests that the six personnel have been incarcerated at a jail in a secret location by the resistance groups.