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“We will try to fully control the area as territorial control is one of the important factors in the military affairs.” Mar Wi, Secretary-2 of the KNDF

An interview with Ko Thike (aka) Mar Wi, Secretary-2 of the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF)

July 16th, 2022

The Kantarawaddy Times (KT) interviewed Ko Thike (aka) Mar Wi, Secretary-2 of the KNDF which is the armed group which has the best grouping skill and has the highest number of members, among the armed revolutionary groups which emerged after the coup, about the KNDF’s stance, territorial control and grouping among the armed resistance groups.

Q: May I know your duty in the KNDF and the KNDF’s stance and undertakings?

A: I serve as Secretary-2 of the KNDF. I am taking responsibility on the ground. Since its inception, we formed it and grouped the organizations in the Karenni State in unison with the minimum loss as it is the military affairs. Our ambition is to fully safeguard and protect the public and to topple the military dictatorship. Our destination is to play our part in building up a new federal democratic country and a social community. We are implementing our goal. Over the one-year period, we are doing our works which conform to these ambitions.

Q: The KNDF has said that it will walk on the armed revolution path. It will not participate in politics. Is the KNDF involved in politics? What kinds of difficulties does the KNDF face?

A: We are participating in politics to a certain degree. Some leaders of the KNDF are included in the political body like the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC) and the National Unity Government (NUG). After this revolution, the KNDF will not do a mixture of the military and the politics. We have known that we cannot fight without political thought. We openly issued a statement about our political thought. However, we will not try to become politicians by holding arms. Our main attention is military affairs. We have appointed the political heads in order that our comrades and the commanders can keep pace with our current political situation. They can discuss their views and assumptions.

Q: Currently, the KNDF is viewed as the best force which can do the grouping in Karenni State. How do you respond to the instigations on the ground? How does the KNDF build this unity?

A: We have a lot of difficulties. It is uneasy to integrate the different groups. As this is the military affairs, we will join hands with the organizations whose principles are compatible with those of the KNDF. We may not go wrong if we have committed to sacrificing our lives. We will join hands not only with the organizations in our state as well as with the groups outside the state if their stances conform to ours. However, there are difficulties on the ground. I think the military affairs and other groupings of the Karenni Army (KA) and the KNDF become stronger as we follow the exact principles, rules and regulations clearly and decisively.

The KA and the KNDF can produce good results in ground fighting. We are capable of bringing a big loss to the military council. We can cover the whole Karenni State. So, we believe that we can have a big hand in the Karenni State affairs, politics and military affairs if our cooperation with other groups achieves success. On the other hand, we continue to make efforts. We don’t stop our efforts even if we cannot do grouping. We want other groups to know about it. We will fight and die together. We will enjoy the fruits of our success together.

Q: Currently, the KNDF and the KA are collaborating on military affairs. Does the KNDF have any challenge over it?

A: We have understood that we have no experience. Although we are burning desire to do the military operations, we are weak in our practical knowledge. So, we decided to cooperate with the KA. We could have the exact discussions with the military chief, the major-general, captains and commanders. Thanks to the exact and firm agreements and processes, we don’t face difficulties on the ground. Fighting and working together among the comrades on the ground becomes more convenient. As a result, the members have come to know who performs their duties. There are still some difficulties in the whole state. Despite having no good matching, fighting in which the KA and the KNDF participate is very good. As all we know, our participation can produce good results.

Q: From the view of outsiders, the KNDF and the KA have relied mostly on the defensive. Do you have a plan to shift to the offensive?

A: It depends only on the situation. We are not making a defense alone. Now we can make offensive operations. The military does not have enough soldiers. The military council can do nothing without airstrike and artillery shelling. We will use the suitable means such as guerrilla warfare, offensive and defensive. We have no exact means. The changing situation is we can start making an offensive.

Q: To what extent, can the KNDF and the KA create controlled areas?

A: We have our own territory and active areas. The military is not in a position to fully control its area. We cannot fully control some areas. We can enter the town and do fighting in the military-controlled areas. In fact, the military council cannot control the town. According to the nature of the war, we have to withdraw and advance. At present, we cannot say to what extent we can control the area. We will try to fully control the area as territorial control is one of the important factors in the military affairs.

Q: From the view of outsiders, other organizations are involved in military affairs. For instance, many People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) are involved. What are your difficulties and challenges when you cooperate in military affairs? How does the KNDF want to go ahead?

A: As we said before, the only military order is the best in military affairs. The only one and organization who gives orders is the best. Only then, can we do the withdrawal and advance in unity at the appropriate time. That’s why our challenge is the chain of command. We have some weak points in giving order to other people and other organizations. The members need to follow the order of the commander on the battle ground. We are working to overcome these difficulties. We allow the persons who can follow the leader’s order to participate in the fighting.

The KA and the KNDF have the most frank relation. We will not bar some organizations if they can take a lead on the battlefield. They will have to follow the order if our commander of the military column leads the battle. The commander is the most responsible person on the battlefield whichever rank they hold in the organization. They are to follow the order of the commander. We should have unity in the future. We want to fight with a good chain of command. We would like to call on other groups via this interview. If not, we will suffer casualties. We must follow it. The deaths of comrades from other groups are just the Karenni races. So, it becomes the matter on which emphasis is to be placed, with mindfulness and perception.

Q: Can it be said that the current efforts for building up unity with other armed organizations are stronger?

A: Whatever we say, there was progress during one year. We cannot implement some plans. As I mentioned earlier, we are making efforts. We don’t cop out. Thanks to our efforts, some results have come out. Soon our people as well as our enemy military council will see it distinctly. We will reveal how we made efforts then.

Q: There have been many armed organizations in Karenni State. In the public view, there may be armed organizations which cannot participate in the military operation. May I know your view on it?

A: The first point is I want all the groups to fight against the military council collectively and decisively. This is my burning desire. However, we have some difficulties on the ground. We have understood that there are some strategies. There emerged the news that some organizations are cooperating with the military council. However, I believe that they must have their difficulties. They may be in the deadlock position. But we cannot change our revolutionary spirit. We would like them not to disrupt the youth’s revolution. To be frank, they should not interfere in the revolution even if they don’t participate in it. I don’t mean they are disrupting us. Our ambition is to root out these evildoers decisively and collectively. Then, we will proceed with our political objectives. I believe that it will happen.

Q: How many military divisions of the military council are active in Karenni State?

A: As far as I know, the main division is No.66 Battalion. Since the fighting, the military has deployed No.66 Division in the state. Sometimes, the military sent other units. Division-55 was also active. I saw the badges of the soldiers killed in the fighting. Mostly the junta soldiers wear No.66 division’s uniforms whichever troops they come from. We see the Engineering and Communication troops. We saw the badges of other military divisions. However, No.66 Division is the main troop.

Almost all soldiers from Division-66 are killed in the fighting in Karenni State. But the military council has reinforced troops. The military reinforces 100 soldiers when 100 soldiers are killed in the fighting. According to the evidence and estimate, nearly 800-1000 junta soldiers have been killed. Some families of the junta soldiers know it while other families have not got any information. A total of 20-30 soldiers were killed in the fighting. Our estimation can be accurate. The total number of soldiers may be accurate. The military council is always deceitful. The families of soldiers may think that their fathers, brothers and offspring are on the frontline. However, they have been killed on the front line.

Q: May I know the estimated number of junta soldiers in Karenni State?

A: We cannot estimate it exactly. The deployments and withdrawals of troops are taking place. The regional troops are stationed. According to my estimate, the total number of junta soldiers is less than 5,000. This is a rough estimate. We will not be reluctant to fight how many soldiers advance to our place. We would not turn to the armed struggle at the beginning if we were afraid. The more the number of members is, the more convenient fighting.

Q: As I said before, the junta soldiers were killed in the fighting. The junta also reinforces the troops. How does the military do the reinforcement of troops?

A: We arrested some defectors from the military. They contacted us to join the CDM. Based on this information, we can say the casualties and reinforcements. That’s why, it is almost sure. The junta soldiers are still undergoing training. The military sent those who are undergoing six-month training to the frontline after two months of the training. Now we have heard that the military sent the soldiers to the frontline after 10-day training. The military is doing the reinforcement of troops like that.

Q: Currently, there are frequent clashes in Karenni State. Fighting may erupt at any time. Which message do you convey to the revolutionary organizations in other regions?

A: The groups in the whole country need to join hand in hand. Thanks to it, we expect that we will achieve our goal in the immediate future. We don’t want the prolonged revolution. We want to end this revolution in a short period of time, with minimum losses. In the past, the revolutionists flocked to the war-affected areas. The activist flocked to Karenni State when fighting erupted. We suffered losses in a place. The military council can send its troops to a single place. We would like to call on other groups to resist the military council in their respective territories. We will extend a helping hand to them if necessary. Till now, we have been affiliated with them. We can share our information with the groups in other states and make cooperation with them in other matters.

Q: My last question is the major challenges of the KNDF in terms of military and other matters.

A: As all we know, we have some limitations to the availability of ammunition. This is our major challenge and difficulty. However, we will use swords if we have no guns. We will use sticks if we have no swords. We have this spirit. Our Karenni people are not the ones who will sit idly as we have no guns and bullets. We will use every possible means to topple and destroy the military. We will make an all-out effort to build up the country we want.

Q: Do you have anything to add?

A: No.

Sent by Maw Mi Myar (Kantarawaddy Times)

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