NUG Issues Appeal for More Myanmar Junta Informants
By The Irrawaddy 21 December 2022
Myanmar’s civilian National Unity Government (NUG) has invited soldiers, police and civil servants who for whatever reason cannot defect, to join the revolution as key informants.
The NUG issued the invitation statement on Tuesday, explaining that intelligence needs are growing as the revolution accelerates. It invited officials with useful information to connect with the NUG’s Ministry of Defense and open a safe channel of communication.
The parallel civilian government called the informants “watermelons”: green (military) on the outside but red (revolutionary) inside.
The NUG said many civil servants in the military administration could not defect but still wanted to stand on the side of truth.
Since last year, so-called watermelons have been passing intelligence to anti-resistance forces on regime troop movements and targets while also helping them evade arrest.
The appeal for more informants came after the civilian government announced that 2023 would be a decisive year for resistance efforts to topple the military regime.
The NUG’s statement promised rewards for informants depending on the level of information sent. Informants were also guaranteed the protection of the civilian Ministry of Defense during the revolution and in the post-revolutionary period.
The wife of a captain who is currently serving in the military declared it was better to become an informant than defect. She said low-ranking civil servants would be interested in the invitation because they face many hardships in the current situation, including low income.
“If the NUG has an effective plan to receive information and transfer reward money by a secure channel, it will be more effective than the CDM [civil disobedience movement],” she told The Irrawaddy, speaking on condition of anonymity over safety concerns.
However, a captain who defected to the revolution on August 2021 warned the regime could tighten restrictions on telecoms in response to the NUG’s invitation. Following the coup, the junta has restricted and closely monitored phone and internet use among its members and their families, he said.
“After the NUG’s official invitation, the regime is likely to impose more restrictions. Informants must be very careful,” he told The Irrawaddy.
The regime could also plant double agents posing as NUG informants, he warned.
“Tight precautions are necessary as the regime will use various methods to crush this move.”