Myanmar regime prepping 14,000 troops to defend Naypyitaw: Sources
Myanmar’s junta is preparing to move around 14,000 troops to Naypyitaw to defend its nerve center against a resistance offensive that is gaining ground across the country, according to sources in the administrative capital, reports The Irrawaddy.
Residents, regime staff and military whistleblowers told The Irrawaddy that the junta is secretly recalling thousands of troops from other regions while forcing civil servants in Naypyitaw to mobilize as a military guard.
Regime officials have also stepped up household registration inspections in the capital.
The preparations reportedly began soon after the ethnic Brotherhood Alliance launched “Operation 1027” in northern Shan State in late October, seizing towns, outposts, troops, weapons and ammunition.
Other ethnic armed groups and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) groups have joined the resistance offensive, making territory gains across the country.
Intense fighting in the Kayah State capital of Loikaw, just a five-hour drive from Naypyitaw, apparently triggered the junta’s move to reinforce its nerve center.
Sources close to military officials in Naypyitaw said the regime is preparing to move some 10,000 combat troops from Mandalay, Bago and Yangon regions to bases in Naypyitaw Union Territory.
In addition to the combat troops, around 4,000 commandos from bases in these regions began redeploying to the administrative capital in the second week of this month, said former soldier U Lwin, citing a source within an infantry battalion commando unit in Mandalay’s Tada-U Township.
“The roofs of the commandos’ new barracks are being reinforced with steel H beams to resist drone attacks. They [the junta] are also building 70 new barracks [in Naypyitaw],” he said.
Meanwhile, military and police are secretly preparing to build new permanent and temporary bunkers throughout Naypyitaw Union Territory, according to other Naypyitaw military sources who spoke to the Irrawaddy.
Sources with knowledge of operations inside the Ministry of Home Affairs No. 10 Office said Naypyitaw police stations have been instructed to mobilize as defense outposts in an emergency.
“In such a situation, the police will no longer exercise their normal daily routine of investigating criminal cases or arresting thugs and thieves. Instead, the stations will turn into defensive bases [for the junta],” one of the sources said.
Naypyitaw police stations are also preparing concrete blocks, sandbags and other materials needed to transform into defensive bases in just a few days, he added.
“Personnel from GE [Garrison Engineering] Corps are now working closely with township police chiefs on preparations,” he said.
Under orders from junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, the GE Corps is also upgrading barracks, bunkers, armories and other important buildings inside Naypyitaw military bases, said sources.
The Irrawaddy has also viewed a leaked Naypyitaw Council document containing details of a plan to form military reserve units with civil servants and former military personnel.
The document, dated Nov.15 and signed by council secretary Tin Maung Swe, orders administrative departments in Naypyitaw to start organizing two companies per department “to go out and serve for natural disasters, and security if necessary.”
It adds that the companies should comprise ex-military personnel and staff who have attended the 6-month training course at the Central Institute of Civil Service (Phaung Gyi).
“This is the plan to help in the event of an emergency,” Tin Maung Swe confirmed to Reuters last week.
Junta spokesperson Major General Zaw Min Tun subsequently told state media that no such plan was underway.
Meanwhile, residents in Naypyitaw said officials had launched nighttime raids to inspect household registrations.
“Staff from ward administrator offices accompanied by armed police visit houses randomly at around 11 pm on weekdays. This has been going on for two weeks in our ward,” said a resident of Shwe Ingyin ward in Dat Khi Na Thiri Township, Naypyitaw.
Residents in neighboring Pyinmana Township confirmed that officials have stepped up household inspections, often accompanied not just by police but also soldiers, which is scaring communities.
“If they find a visitor in a household with no guest registration, they arrest a male family member immediately and throw him in jail for a night,” said a Pyinmana resident.
U Lwin, the ex-military man, said the regime is remobilizing troops and their families to serve as a last line of defense for the generals in Naypyitaw.
“The junta has already trussed them up like the chickens in a basket by putting their families close beside them. If the Northern Alliance offensive reaches Naypyitaw, the junta will sacrifice these troops on the front line to protect themselves,” he said.