Myanmar Peace Monitor

Border Guard Force Scheme

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During the run up to elections in April 2009, the government announced the BGF force scheme for all ceasefire groups. This rushed attempt to absorb ethnic militia groups into the national army meant these groups were required to give up most of their autonomy without the promised political discussions taking place.

After several extensions of the deadline, the definitive deadline expired in Sept 2010, after which the government announced all ceasefires “null and void”. The run up to and eventual breakdown in the first round of ceasefires saw the military step up pressure on ethnic militia groups.

economically: blocked Chinese border trade through the KIO’s Laiza headquarters, refused to renew the operating licence of Yangon Airways run by the UWSA Chairman’s son.

politically: ordered the closure of all but two of the KIO liaison offices in government- controlled areas, barred a Kachin Political Party, KSPP, from registering and contesting in the 2010 elections, and referred to ceasefire groups as “insurgents” in the media.

militarily: attacked the MNDAA (Kokang) and captured their headquarters (August 2009), many militia groups reported military build-up near their outposts and some have even been attacked - the worse now being in Kachin state and Northern Shan State.

The government however changed its aggressive stance on August 18, 2011 when President Thein Sein pledged to make the ethnic issue a national priority, offering dialogue with all armed groups and dropping key preconditions for talks, namely the BGF requirement. Nevertheless the Border Guard Force scheme remains a part of the government’s peace plan and is listed as point 8 in the Union level peace negotiations’ 8-points: “To coordinate existence of only a single armed forces in accord with the Constitution”.

Description

There is no official governmental document that defines their BGF policy. The people’s militia force is mentioned in the Defense Services, Chapter 7, of the 2008 constitution. However, the wording is vague and no details about the role of the people’s militia are provided.

340. With the approval of the National Defence and Security Council, the Defence Services has the authority to administer the participation of the entire people in the Security and Defence of the Union. The strategy of the people’s militia shall be carried out under the leadership of the Defence Services.

According to a report by the Network for Democracy and Development called “Civil and Military Administrative Echelon in Burma” (August 2011), the structure and organization of the Border Guard Force and People Military Group are detailed below:

Border Guard Force (BGF) is a regular military force and has a military structure like the Myanmar Army. Although the battalion commander is from the ethnic armed group, the Myanmar army is in total control over the activities of the BGF and work together during military operations.

The BGF has a total of 326 personnel of which 3% are Myanmar army soldiers, including commanding officers and other rank officers. Among them, 30 soldiers from the Myanmar army including officers work together with ethnic soldiers in the battalion and take important administrative positions in the BGF.

BGF battalion commanders can promote their soldiers and are allowed to use heavy weapons like motors provided by the Myanmar army. However a BGF battalion is only allowed to patrol in their active area while a Myanmar army battalion can be deployed freely is any area. For instance, a Myanmar army battalion under LID 88 in Magwe region can be deployed in Kachin State, while a Karen BGF cannot be deployed in Kachin State.

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People Military Group (PMG) is not a regular force like the Myanmar army and the BGF. It does not have a military structure and there are no soldiers from the Myanmar Army serving in the PMG. There is no ranking system in the PMG and it is run in a group leadership style. The PMG does not have an exact number of soldiers like the BGF. For instance: a BGF has 326 troopers in a battalion but a PMG has less than 100 soldiers. PMG soldiers do not need to attend military training provided by the Myanmar army and they do not get their salary from the Myanmar army. Nevertheless its activities are monitored by the Myanmar Army,

The PMG does not have to take full time duty in military affairs like the Myanmar army and BGF. It also does not need to fully participate in military operations. It is only responsible for assisting the Myanmar army, for example showing the way to headquarters or camps of ethnic armed groups and collecting information about ethnic armed groups for the Myanmar army.

PMG leaders are permitted to run businesses in their active area to finance their activities. However they are not allowed to patrol outside their active area and are not allowed to use heavy weapons.

Progress

So far the major groups to have transformed into Border Guard forces and People Militia Forces are: NDA-K, KNPLF, MNDAA, Lahu Militia group, DKBA, KDA, battalions from SSA-N and SSA-S as well as splinter groups from other major groups.

Border Guard Force****Each battalion of the Border Guard Forces (BGF) has 326 soldiers, including 18 officers and 3 commanders (one from the Tatmadaw). BGFs are only deployed within its territory and paid the same salary as normal soldiers.

# BGF Controlled area Commander Formed Former Militia Group
1 No. 1001 Gant Gwan and Chi Phwe Maj. Deltan Khaung Lum 8 Nov 2009 NDA-K, Kachin state
2 No. 1002 Lupi, Chi Phwe and Pang Wah Maj. Lanjaw Saung Taint 8 Nov 2009 NDA-K
3 No. 1003 Sin Kyaing and Kan Pai Tee Maj. Wamthe Dai Khaun 8 Nov 2009 NDA-K
4 No. 1004 Pan-tain and Loikaw Maj. Ree Samar 8 Nov 2009 KNPLF, Kayah state
5 No. 1005 Sop-pai and Loikaw Maj. Se Moenel 8 Nov 2009 KNPLF
6 No. 1006 Lauk-kai Maj. Yang Xao Kying 4 Dec 2009 MNDAA (Kokang army), Shan state
7 No. 1007 Ponpa-kyin and Mong Ton Maj. Japi Kwe 30 Mar 2010 Lahu militia group in Mong Ton and Mong Sert township, Shan state
8 No. 1008 Mong Yu and Mong Yawng 30 Mar 2010 Combined forces of Lahu militia group in Mongkoe village and Jakuni militia group in Talay township, Shan state
9 No. 1009 Tachilek Maj. Sai Aung 18 May 2010 Lahu milita group in Tachilek township, Shan state
10 No. 1010 Makman- Kengtung Unknown 20 May 2010 Makman militia group in Mong Pyin township, Shan state
11 No. 1011 Pantawmi – Hlaing bwe Unknown 18 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hlaing bwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
12 No. 1012 Kyonhtaw- Hlaing Bwe Maj. Saw Beh 18 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
13 No. 1013 Kataihte - Phapun Maj. Saw Hla Kyaing 18 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
14 No. 1014 Tanta-Oo and Pha pun Unknown 18 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
15 No. 1015 Paikyon – Hlaing bwe Maj. Saw Win Naing Sein 20 Aug 2010 DKBA in Paikyon area, Karen state
16 No. 1016 Dawlan – Hlaing bwe Maj. Saw Myat Khaing 20 Aug 2010 DKBA in Paikyon area, Karen state
17 No. 1017 Maepalae - Myawaddy Unknown 20 Aug 2010 DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
18 No. 1018 Shwe Kokko – Myawaddy Maj. Saw Maung Win 20 Aug 2010 DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
19 No. 1019 Taw-Oak and Myawaddy Maj. Saw Lik Theint 20 Aug 2010 DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
20 No. 1020 Htiwakalay – Myawaddy Maj. San Lin 21 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hteehuthan area, Karen state
21 No. 1021 Hteehuthan and Kaw kareik Maj. Saw Beelu 21 Aug 2010 DKBA in Hteehuthan area, Karen state
22 No. 1022 Atwin-kwin-kalay and Myawaddy Unknown 21 Aug 2010 DKBA in Myitta-lin-myaing area, Karen state
23 No. 1023 Kyeikdon and Kya-Inn-Seik-gyi Maj. Saw Eh Htoo 21 Aug 2010 DKBA in Kyeikdon area, Karen state

People's Militia Group***Each People's Militia Group has less than 100 members and is under the control of the Tatmadaw.

# Name Controlled area Commander Formed Former Militia Group
1 Lawayang militia group Gwe-htu, Lawayang, Wine maw Col. La San Awng Wah 16 Oct 2009 Split from KIO/KIA
2 Rawan militia group Khaung Lan hpu (Puta-O) Tan Ku Tan Unknown Formed by Burma Army
3 Kaung-kha (1) Kaung-kha, Kotkai Unknown 19 Jan 2010 Kachin Defence Army (KDA)
4 Kaung-Kha (2) Loi-khan, Kotkai (kut khai) Unknown 19 Jan 2010 KDA
5 Kaung-kha (3) Hophyat, Kotkai Unknown 19 Jan 2010 KDA
6 Kaung-kha (4) Loi Tauk, Kotkai Unknown 19 Jan 2010 KDA
7 Kaung-kha (5) Manglin, Kotkai Unknown 19 Jan 2010 KDA
8 Sein-kyauk (1) Sein-kyauk, Thipaw (hsipaw) - 10 May 2010 SSA-N (Shan State Army – North)
9 Sein-kyauk (2) Sein-Kyauk, Thipaw - 10 May 2010 SSA-N
10 Mong-khay Mong-khay, Thipaw - 10 May 2010 SSA-N
11 Kali Kali, Kun Hein - 10 May 2010 SSA-N
12 Want-pan Want-pan, Laikha - 29 Sept 2009 SSA-S (758 brigade
13 Nar-pwe Nar-pwe, Nam San - 29 Sept 2009 SSA-S (758 brigade)
14 Tarlawgyi Tarlawgyi and Sinbo area U San Wei May 2012 formed by Burma Army

Regional People’s Militia group and Anti-insurgency group***Each group has less than 100 members and is under the control of Tatmadaw.

# Name Area/region Leader
1 Mann-pan group Mann-pan, Tang-yang Sai Moon, Khun Hla (former PSLF)
2 Mong-hin, Mong-ha Tang-yang Lao Mar
3 Naung Mo (Narkaw village group) Tang-yang Yar BuKbr
Lahu area
4 Mong Kaung Tang-yang Police officer Saw Lu
5 Nar Kaw Tang-yang Police officer Lao Tar
6 Mong Yu Muse -
7 Kyu-kok Kyu-kok -
8 Mong-Koe Mong-koe Naw Kham
9 Mong-Paw Mong-koe Gam Mai
10 Shou Haw Mong-koe Hla Myint
11 Lon Khan Muse -
12 Pan-Seinn Muse -
13 Special Militia group Kot-kai Te Khun Myat
elected MP in the 2010 election; many criticize him for his involvement in drug trading and taxation.
14 Phong-hsai Kot-kai Kyi Khun Swe
15 Special Ranger militia group Kot-kai -
16 Special militia group Kot-kai Police officer Zaw Aung
17 Ta-moe-nye Kot-kai Myint Lwin (a) Wamkawt Tar
18 Pang-say Nam Kham Kyaw Myint
elected MP in the 2010 election; many criticize him for his involvement in drug trading and taxation.
19 Lon Htan Lauk Kai -
Kokang area
20 Nam-matu Nam-matu -
21 Mann Ton Mann Ton U Than Nyan (former PSLF)
Palaung area
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