CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Peng Jiafu, the younger brother of Peng Jiasheng – the leader of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – died from lung disease at the age of 81 near the Myanmar-China border on Tuesday.
Peng Jiafu, along with his brother Peng Jiasheng, was forced into hiding along the border after the Tatmadaw launched an offensive against the MNDAA (also known as the Kokang group) in 2009. The military government issued an arrest warrant for the two, but the warrant was annulled under former President U Thein Sein’s administration.
The National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), also known as Mongla Group – an MNDAA ally – confirmed his death.
“He had resigned [from the MNDAA] after the warrant was annulled under President U Thein Sein. He lived in Thailand, but he developed a lung condition and received treatment in China. He came back to Mongla – after his disease was found to be beyond a cure – where he passed away,” NDAA spokesperson U Kyi Myint told The Irrawaddy.
Peng Jiafu was married twice. He had a son and a daughter from the first marriage.
U Aung Kyaw Zaw, who served as a subordinate under Peng Jiafu in the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) and is now a military analyst living on the China-Myanmar border, praised him as a tower of strength in both the political and military fields throughout successive periods from the time of the CPB to the MNDAA.
“He was a chain-smoker. His lungs were in bad shape. But he still served as a patron and consultant in the MNDAA. Although he could not take an active role due to his health, his advice was sought in serious clashes,” U Aung Kyaw Zaw told The Irrawaddy.
Peng Jiafu served as the deputy commander of Kokang Battalion No. 404 of the CPB and when the communists established the northeastern military region by combining battalions No. 404 and No. 303 in 1970, he served as the deputy commander of the military region.
From 1971 to 1979, he served as the commander of Brigade No. 8, and tactical commander of Division No. 48 from 1979 to 1985. He became the vice chief of staff of the CPB Northern Bureau in 1985.
After the collapse of the CPB in 1989, the Kokang region was designated as the first autonomous special region in Burma, and from then until fierce clashes broke out with the Tatmadaw in 2009, Peng Jiafu served as the chief of staff of Kokang Special Region 2.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.