On 28 December, a 7-men patrol from IB 65 (Mongton) were found dead near Wang Hurwin firebase, opposite Wianghaeng District, Chiangmai Province.
The party had left the day before on a one-day normal patrol. A search party was organized to look for them after they failed to return.
"All were shot dead", said the source. "The mystery was that their equipment and weapons were left untouched, a clear indication that the ambush was not launched by Shan rebels".
Anti-Insurgency Public Rallies in Southern Shan State
An anti-insurgency rally was held at Tonpheung Village, Poongpakhem Tract, Mongton Township, Monghsat District, opposite Chiangmai on 5 January, reported Maihoong.
Among the speakers were government civil servants, retired military men and "hand picked" local villagers including Ms. Zingpwint, a Shan primary school teacher.
"The people at the gathering were asked how they liked the rebels destroying everything the military in cooperation with the people had achieved", said Maihoong. His source said the people had no choice but to answer in unison that they did not, although few understood what was spoken.
Sources also informed Maihoong that each household in the surrounding area were forced to send one of its members to attend the event under threat of K. 5,000 fine for each absentee.
"Another rally has been decided at the 9 January meeting at Mongtaw, a town taken from Khun Sa after his surrender in early 1996.
Another Offensive In the Offing?
Beginning 7 January, more than 30 off-roaders, owned by the local people in the Mongtaw-Monghta area, Mongton Township, have been requisitioned to haul diesel and gasoline from Mongton and Monghsat.
"People are wondering whether the junta is going to launch operations against Yawdserk (and his Shan State Army) after the anti-insurgency public rallies", reported Maihoong.
Fire In Monghsu Gemland
Mao Mao reported from the north on 7 January that a huge fire that broke out at midnight, 4 January, had destroyed more than a hundred houses at Khetawng-Look paw in Monghsu.