Major who defected from Tatmadaw begins training recruits to fight coup regime 

A high-ranking soldier who defected from the Myanmar military after it seized power on February 1 began training new recruits to fight the coup regime on Saturday in territory controlled by an armed insurgent group. 

Major Hein Thaw Oo defected from Light Infantry Division 99 in the central town of Meiktila in late March after serving in the military for 20 years. 

Saturday’s trainees were between the ages of 20 and 35 and recently fled towns and cities across the country amid a military campaign of mass murder and terror designed to crush resistance to its rule.  

The number of trainees and their exact location cannot be disclosed for security reasons.

As well as teaching the recruits to fight, the basic training will cover battlefield first-aid, English language lessons, and computer and vocational courses.

“We will not accept these blatant and unnecessary killings of innocent civilians,” he told the recruits as training began. “The people will not accept it either. Those in this evil army will die when it’s their time.” 

Battles with the military regime’s forces could begin at any moment, the major added. “There’s nothing set in stone with battles. Maybe they’ll come to you and maybe you’ll go to them. It could happen today or tomorrow.” 

The military regime’s forces have killed over 770 people including dozens of children during attacks on protesters and others since February, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

One of the recruits on Saturday was a youth who fled Bago after surviving a massacre there last month where 82 people were killed, according to local aid groups. 

After soldiers took over the city’s Ponnasu, Hmor Kan and Socialist neighbourhoods on April 9 they began abducting and torturing young people indiscriminately. 

Some residents decided to flee the city to join the armed resistance.

“These who bully and torture people and dare to kill people… I hope they’re ready to die too,” Hein Thaw Oo said.  

The major said he was willing to join forces with any organisation that will work towards a country without dictatorship, and that alliances with some organisations have already been established.

The National Unity Government, established by ousted lawmakers, has been negotiating with armed ethnic groups with the aim of forming a federal army to fight the coup regime. 

On May 5 it announced the formation of a People’s Defence Force.


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