Karen News POWs Tell Resistance of Low Morale among the Aung Zay Ya Military Column Heading to Myawaddy

Vice Senior General Soe Win, deputy head of the coup Junta, personally oversaw Operation Aung Zay Ya, commencing on April 9, involving troops from the 77th and 55th Divisions. Private Chan Myae Aung, aged 17 and a member of a Junta column in Operation Aung Zay Ya, was captured by the Cobra Column. During interrogation, he revealed the presence of at least three child soldiers in his deployed column.

“In my unit about 10 people were forced into military service through portering or drawing lots. Many others in another column faced similar situations. In my unit alone, there were at least 3 young soldiers like me, all 17 years old”, he said.

Operation Aung Zay Ya aimed to split into two main columns and advance simultaneously from both the new main road and the old mountain road, to reach the opposite side of the Dawna Mountain Range. Chan Myae Aung conceded that he could not estimate the number of child soldiers in another column where he was not deployed.

Chan Myae Aung disclosed that his uncle, who is also a soldier in the Junta Army, physically assaulted him and compelled him to join the military. He added that he had served for less than a year, and was immediately dispatched to the frontline in Laukkai, northern Shan State, upon completing his military training.

In January, thousands of troops including Chan Myae Aung, belonging to the Junta’s 55th Light Infantry Division, surrendered at Laukkai. After that he was assigned to the 112nd Light Infantry Battalion within the same division and was deployed for Operation Aung Zay Ya. During his time on the frontline, he deserted and was eventually apprehended by the Cobra Column.

Junta troops currently held as PoWs by resistance forces, have revealed that many of those involved in Operation Aung Zay Ya are on the verge of losing their will to fight, and are prepared to desert at the first chance they get.

“Many of us soldiers do not want to fight anymore. After Laukkai, we all lost our will to keep fighting. It is also disheartening to see fellow countrymen fighting each other. Lots of troops want to abandon the army. Fifteen of us talked about deserting, but only three of us actually did when the opportunity arose”, private Pyae Phyo Aung, who deserted along with Chan Myae Aung told KIC.

Recaptured Junta soldiers who deserted from the frontlines are usually persuaded to return to fighting, whereas those caught deserting from rear bases typically face torture and detention, according to PoWs.

The resistance forces reported that in addition to the Junta troops from Operation Aung Zay Ya who deserted or were apprehended, there were also at least 20 combatants who surrendered under the white flag, and those who surrendered were threatened by Junta commanders.

Local military sources reported that the Junta troops engaged in Operation Aung Zay Ya, including those from the battalions under the 55th Light Infantry Division, have encountered enormous challenges in crossing the Dawna Mountain Range or making further advances due to robust and determined interceptions by the resistance forces.

The post POWs Tell Resistance of Low Morale among the Aung Zay Ya Military Column Heading to Myawaddy appeared first on Karen News.