An interview with Ko Star, in-charge of Tanintharyi Region PDF.
During more than two and a half years of the military coup in Tanintharyi, where the people’s resistance is strong, the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) have reached the vicinity of the cities. There are frequent clashes with the military council.
According to a local research organization, the PDFs can control many areas in Tanintharyi, and the military council, which is often under attack, has changed its combating strategy.
The Than Lwin Times interviewed Ko Star, in-charge of the Tanintharyi Region PDF about the military situation of the two armed groups, the military council’s change to military strategy, the territorial controls by the PDFs in Tanintharyi Region.
Q: First of all, tell me about the military situation in Tanintharyi Region.
A: Currently, there are movements in the Dawei district. The PDFs are active in areas close to Union Road in Palaw Township in Myeik District. There are movements in the places where the military council soldiers are stationed. The situation is normal in Bokepyin.
Q: Is there any further offensive by the military council? Where is the fighting going on?
A: They (military council) carry out responses based on our movements. The military council is conducting an offensive in Dawei. The military council’s battalion is making necessary preparations as the PDFs are approaching the military-controlled areas in Palaw. This is the military council’s counter-offensive based on our movements.
Q: Does this mean that they (military council) can no longer conduct offensives in the places where the PDFs are present?
A: The military council conducts an offensive in Dawei. There is no offensive in Myeik and Kawthoung Districts. The military council has already known where the PDFs are. What they do is that if there are important VIP routes, they will take security measures on the road. They don’t come separately. The military column usually conducts offensives when there are the relocation of troops and the transport of rations. The attacks on separate camps are quite rare.
Q: May I know your view on the military council’s changing military strategy?
A: What has changed is their strength. The military council sends more troops to the areas which see more military tension. The military council’s combating comrades are only in numbers. Although the military council has the actual ground forces, the strength of combating forces is very low. As the elderly persons are found in the military column, the military council is not in a position to conduct an offensive. It is found that the military council is making preparations for defense.
Q: Which strategy and tactics do the PDFs prepare to fight?
A: We have one-year plans. There are combat operations determined by strategy. These are done consistently. we only have to advance the east. The military situation is normal in some townships. However, we are moving steadily towards our military objectives. Fighting is taking place in Palaw. They (military council) are carrying out shootings everywhere. They get attacked in Tanintharyi as well as in the cities like Palaw and Tanintharyi. There is very little fighting in the remaining townships. We attacked departmental and office buildings in Launglon and the ministers’ housing and parliamentary buildings in Dawei.
Q: In this situation, what can the military council do? How does the military council exercise a four-cuts strategy?
A: If they no longer have the advantage in terms of their military position, they will instill more fear into the people by all means. The military council will carry out more arrests, tortures, killings and movements. The military council has no way out. Now the military council is doing it. Later the situation will become even worse. The military council pays more attention to urban areas than rural areas. The people who live in big cities may become more difficult. There are the villagers in Palaw. According to the needs of the village community, I think the military council will not cut off the transport of goods if the villagers need ratios and rice. The main point is the military council will cut off their main supply route. The military council tries to investigate and ascertain the situations of the revolutionary forces. It is found that the military council takes actions and penalizes the people with suspicion.
Q: What do you want to tell the urban people as there may be attacks in urban areas?
A: The most important thing is that we have information. The military council has taken security measures in its controlled areas. We need to know it in real time. We have to rely a lot on the information provided by the people in the region about the strength and geographical locations. We pay more attention to it. They have military bases close to the people. Those who live in nearby areas need to move to safer places as possible. I want to say that it is safest to stay away from these places as much as possible.
Q: Finally, what would you like to tell the public about the current situation of the military?
A: A lieutenant on duty in Pakari village in Dawei called a meeting. The military knows where the PDFs are in Pakari. The PDFs can move around in plain clothes without carrying weapons. The military council said the villagers can return to their homes without carrying out attacks on them and causing trouble. The military council said in the meeting called on the PDFs not to attack it. They have fear. They inevitably have to advance. The main point is the military council doesn’t want the PDFs to carry out an attack. The PDFs in plainclothes can go freely. The military said it wants to live peacefully. It is said that the military council has opened all military fronts across the country. As soon as they leave the camps, they enter the enemy’s territory. There are many military fronts against them everywhere. They have no safety. The military’s strength has declined a lot. Their morale has declined. If possible, they don’t want to fight anymore. They have reached the point where they want peace soon. The military’s morale and grouping has declined a lot. The military council’s offensive is no longer strong.
Sent by Than Lwin Times