(Q) Mingalarba BNN viewers! The person I am going to interview today is, leader of Sagaing region PDF leader, Bo Nagah. The topics I am going to ask are latest situations on clashes in Sagaing region and the Spring Revolution which is more than a year and a half old. Greetings, Bo Nagah!
(Q) I haven’t seen you for a while. I heard that there have been clashes (with the Burmese army), especially at Pale township administration and People Defence Force areas. The other side came to attack with air force, we heard. Can you tell me about that a little first?
(A) That must had happened on 25. Yes, on 25 of last month. It occurred due to information leakage. As for the leakage, you can say that it is about the people being too good-hearted. They treated a captured wife of a major too well by giving her opportunities and she abused people’s goodwill while they kept her free. She was kept free, and she reported the location of the place by phone and told (the army). That’s roughly what we know. It was where the office of township PDF (People’s Defence Force) located. We don’t know the details, but the township PDF will know more. But the news we heard was she was rescued after planes came to attack (the camp). During that operation, many civilians were killed, possibly between 5 and 20.
(Q) What I heard was, it is not clear. The SAC came to rescue those (soldiers) who surrendered or were captured (by PDF). Is it like that?
(A) More than captured SAC soldiers, there were also Pyus (pro-army militias) including a major’s wife among the captured. As I said before, our side treated them well in accordance with human rights. There were allowed to live and eat freely. They were allowed to talk to their families once in a while. She abused their trust in this situation, I think. It’s impossible to know a lot.
(Q) So you are not based there?
(A) Township PaKhaPha office is nothing to do with us. What I mean is it is not our territory.
(Q) It happened on the 25th and it is nearly ten days now. What happened? What can you tell us in summary?
(A) That day when the camp was raided, they had to leave and flee the camp. Although it is not our camp, it is the township’s camp, and it’s a matter of invading our township by the SAC. Whatever it is, although it is not our camp, it is the camp of our revolution community. We went to the camp and sent MRDA comrades and planned to fight. It started to get intensive on the 26th morning. It continued onto 27 and I myself went to the battlefield from 26 evening. I myself supervised four columns and blocked them and fought them during the night too. It went on the whole night until the following whole day. The SAC attacked from air the whole day when the fighting gets accelerated.
As for location we did not budge from our positions and continued to block and surround them and fought vigorously. As we blocked them from all four directions, we made ourselves ready to fight them, they didn’t have any way out.
Even when fire power from the planes didn’t help them, the planes came to help them fire the third and fourth times, they only carried our cover fires, and they were evacuated on Mi17s. The wounded were taken away and some of the dead were buried there. On the following day, locals said that more SAC corpses were discovered. As we are at a far away place after the retreat, we do not know for sure.
(Q) Now it is around two weeks. Has the army retreated? Back to normal?
(A) Yes. They evacuated them by air on 27. First, they seemed to have the plan to attack from the lower part. They were cooking and eating with pots and pans, and we went to attack them there.
MRDA formed four columns and attacked them without allowing them the way out. They were in great difficulty. The air force helped them. Artilleries from a hill helped them with shelling but the situation was no good for them. As it was so, the planes could only carry out cover fires for them and immediately landed troop carriers and rescued their people.
(Q) Did they leave on helicopters?
(A) Yes. They burnt the corpses straight away and some wounded were carried away. On the following day, more corpses were discovered by local people, I heard. I don’t know for exact as we had to return to our place after 27, after their retreat.
(Q) Can you say that they are mainly bullying you with airpower?
(A) Yes, the main point is that. SAC used all manpower and firepower to fight vigorously on the ground, but the situation is not good (for them) anymore. As for manpower, they have no enough number to spread out all places at the ready anymore. As it is so, they use what they have in manpower and carry out attacks with airplanes and transport planes. They can’t carry out ground attacks anymore. Ground attacks and weapons.
They can burn the villages but suffer heavy loss during head-on clashes. That’s why they depend on air power. And as we are not able to respond to it to the least, they are depending on air power to operate.
(Q) To sum up, what is your view on what happened? … Is it because of the slack in control on the captured (SAC POWs) or the one captured called by phone for rescue? What is your view on why that happened?
(A) What PDFs and all revolution groups facing are very vicious and cruel people. They have committed all kinds of human rights violation on us that can’t be described anymore. I don’t want people to concentrate on the world for human rights violations that much. At some places, it is true that we have to treat human beings like human beings. If I have to use the rude local slangs, you cannot compete biting with dogs. But you need to know dogs as dogs. You don’t have to be vile and vicious like them. What I want say is, we need to know that they are vile and vicious. In the future, we need not be magnanimous on them, because if we do we’d be on the side of being careless. We need to be aware of that. Recently, due to the leadership of NUG and armed groups, the killing has decreased. We are operating with discipline. We treat them according to human rights and dignity as I said. That is a bit too much.
(Q) It is a bit too much to allow them to make phone calls. Never heard of it in other places.
(A) We do allow them to make calls. For myself, we have some detainees with us. We allow them to be free. We allow them to make phone calls. But we turn on speakers while they are talking. We keep a comrade nearby and allow them to speak leisurely. We keep a guard.
(Q) I want to ask you about the danger of airstrikes. You said earlier on and we all saw it. They occurred here, in Kayin, Kachin Sagaing. Airstrikes are carried out everywhere.
Recently NUG said during the first anniversary of resistance that it has weapons to shoot helicopters and kept hidden at some places. But we haven’t seen them shooting down any of them.
Another thing, at some point, I heard you said somewhere that the weapons you ordered have not arrived. Can you tell us about it? What is happening?
(A) That was in my rough statement in June. We assigned someone who promised to help for transportation. They haven’t arrived due to transportation difficulties.
(Q) Last time, must be two or three months ago, they promised you weapons for a battalion. Have you got those?
(A) Yes. As for the armament of one battalion, that’s done.
(Q) Your PDF camp was raided and at Let Yet Kone you have nothing…
What should be done against the danger of airstrikes?
(A) To say it clearly, if the enemy is using it as it’s advantage, we have to think how to respond to and counter it.
There are many things that should be done on this matter. But it is not good to say recklessly about it what should be done. The main thing is we must arrange quickly for the procurement of anti-aircraft weapons. Another thing, we have to prepare a plan to prevent air attacks, either at the camps or with the people. As everyone knows, SAC is not attacking Sagging region by declaring it as war zone. But they are carrying out activities worse than those in war zones. All people know it. I used the wrong word. It should be operation zone. We are seeing atrocious acts worse than those in operation zones.
More than just fighting armed revolution groups head on, they regard all people they see around here as enemy and carry out limitless attacks. As it is so, not only revolution groups but also the people need to make preparations from air raids. For example, we must dig bomb shelters. But we have to be aware there is, unlike other countries and armies or armed conflicts, if you are attacked at the bomb shelters and you don’t die, you survive. But what we are facing is not like that here. Although they call it an army, it is just a bunch of vicious people put together as an organization. So what is happening is when we are bombed, we will take refuge in the bomb shelter. But don’t think to stay or live inside the shelters. You can’t do that.
The reason is, they would drop of troops and when they see civilians they arrest and torture them and rape women. They commit sexual violence against them. They will do unpredictable things such as killing for fun by means of relieving tension. Everyone knows that they beat, torture and kill people. So the main thing is, during the bombing, we need places we can take shelter. We must prepare for it. And do not depend on them for the long run. We must find the ways to escape to surrounding areas. Local organizations must educate local people on that.
And we have to lead and guide people to safe places away from dangers in the future. The situation is likely to get worse.
14:42 What happened at Let Yet Kone, and Anantpa where the Kachin people were having celebrations, the enemy just openly indicate and admit how cruel and vicious they are. They won’t care for religious buildings, education buildings or common habitation areas. They will treat them with equal cruelty and viciousness. We need to be aware of that. More than that, we need to know clearly how much we need to oppose that kind of organisation.
To be continue – Part (2)