Resistance fighters in Shan State offer 5m kyat rewards to soldiers who surrender with their weapons

People’s Defence Force (PDF) fighters in southern Shan State’s Pekhon are offering rewards of 5m kyat, roughly $2,600, to members of the junta’s forces who surrender with their weapons, the group said in an announcement on Sunday. 

The offer comes after the resistance group found that family members of soldiers and police had been killed in a PDF raid while deployed as guards in the area, a tactic which may suggest the military is facing a shortage of manpower there. 

The junta is trying to recruit retired military personnel in upper Myanmar, where resistance fighters have killed many hundreds of soldiers in recent months. At least 4,456 members of the junta’s forces have been killed across the country as of October 7, the National Unity Government has said. 

The Pekhon PDF said it made its offer because soldiers and police are being placed in a difficult situation with orders to put their family members forth for active duty, and therefore need help defecting.

“When we raided their base the other day, we found out that they were employing the family members of the army officers as security guards with a wage of 7,000 kyat per day,” a spokesperson for the group said. 

The adult children of army officers were among five people killed during Friday’s attack on a military outpost, he said. 

Three of those killed were women who the PDF initially thought were soldiers but were in fact, the group said, relatives of soldiers who had been given uniforms and guns. 

“That is why we are making this offer,” the spokesperson said. “We know that they had no choice but to obey the military council’s orders and that is why we are giving them a chance.” 

The offer was also a chance for soldiers and police officers to stand on the right side of history, he said. The PDF would take responsibility for the deserters’ security, food and shelter, he added.

“All they have to do is leave,” he said “It doesn’t matter how many weapons they bring. We have enough donations to provide rewards for them. They just have to come here.” 

“Even if too many of them come, we’ll still try to keep our end of the offer. We’d have to buy weapons otherwise anyway,” he added.

Resistance groups say fighting has escalated recently in Pekhon amid continued military assaults in the region that have led to several civilian casualties. 

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