Two junta soldiers join PDF in Magway after deserting their posts 

Two Myanmar military soldiers have deserted their posts in Magway Region’s Yesagyo Township and joined the local People’s Defence Force (PDF) to fight the junta, the PDF has said.

The soldiers both deserted from Infantry Battalion 256 on January 18 because, among other reasons, they were being fed poorly, according to the resistance fighters who took them in.  

“They said they wanted to stand on the people’s side, that they didn’t even get enough food although they were made to do the dirty work for the generals, and that they were not just joining the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) but also wanted to fight back against the junta,” said Wai Gyi, the leader of the Yesagyo PDF. 

One of the soldiers, who is called Ko Thet and comes from Ayeyarwady Region, ran away while he was on guard duty and took an M1 semi-automatic rifle with him, the PDF said in a statement.   

“He said that he was only allowed to carry the rifle only when he was on guard duty,” Wai Gyi said.

The other deserter, Saw Kler Bwe Htoo, escaped while his military unit was stationed at Sin Chaung village, 10 miles south of the town of Yesagyo.

The two deserters have not yet been allowed to fight with the PDF and were sent to an area under the control of an ethnic armed group, the statement said, adding that the PDF would like to welcome more junta soldiers who wanted to stand with the people.

Infantry Battalion 256 is located near Hpu Lon village, about two miles west of Yesagyo.

In May and July last year a corporal and two privates deserted their posts in Yesagyo, Wai Gyi added. 

More than 2,000 soldiers and 6,000 police officers have defected since last February’s military coup, according to figures released in late November by People’s Embrace, a group helping the deserters. 

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