Myanmar’s military regime has issued an “emergency alert” to all of its units across the country that defectors say means the junta is preparing for resistance attacks.
Former army captain Lin Htet Aung, who has defected to the resistance, told The Irrawaddy that the regime’s alert was made by phone to all units on Tuesday.
Normally the military uses classified telegraph messages to issue orders, he said.
The order limits troop mobilizations and puts them on standby for attacks.
Junta troops are sustaining heavy casualties, especially in Sagaing Region, Karen and Kayah State, due to intensifying attacks from resistance forces who fight along with some ethnic armed organizations like the Kachin Independence Army and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
More than 160 junta soldiers were reportedly killed in the first two weeks of April in over 200 clashes with the KNLA and its allies in Karen State, the group claimed.
Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government this month said it was preparing more offensives against regime troops. Some of its people’s defense forces are being led by commanders of ethnic armed organizations.
Another defector, former captain Nyi Thuta, said the alert was meant to prepare soldiers to reinforce frontline troops.
“That applies from commanders down to privates. They will have to be ready at all times,” he said.
Both former captains said the alert was unusual because it did not give a duration.
They said similar alerts were normally issued a week before Armed Forces Day in March and commanders’ quarterly meetings.
There is no activity like that due and the alert came out of the blue and is unusual, the former officers said.
They said the alert was putting the armed forces into a defensive mode while resistance attacks were expected.
“It seems the regime is reacting to the resistance plan and is buying time to prepare,” said Nyi Thuta.
Lin Htet Aung said the alert exposed junta weakness, far from dictator Min Aung Hlaing’s recent vow to crush resistance forces.
“They are just trying to protect themselves. Quelling the resistance may come later,” he said.
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