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Massive AWOLs on Armed Forces Day

by admin last modified 2007-04-05 03:44

Hundreds of soldiers who participated in the Armed Forces Day parade at Pyinmana Naypyidaw had deserted, according to an informed border source.

No.04 - 4/2007
5 April 2007
War
 
Massive AWOLs on Armed Forces Day
 
Hundreds of soldiers who participated in the Armed Forces Day parade at Pyinmana Naypyidaw had deserted, according to an informed border source.
 
Of 300 men from Monghpyak-based Military Operations Command (MOC) #18 in eastern Shan State, who went to the new capital, 650 miles away, for the occasion, only some 140 were back at the command post, he said, quoting a senior officer.
 
"Many of them came from lowland Burma and were homesick," he explained, "So when the opportunity came, they just took it. It was the same with many other commands."

 Armed Forces Day

Photo: Manager Online

15,000 men from all the three branches of the Tatmadaw had taken part in the Armed Forces Day march. "From the army alone, all regional, divisional and MOC commands were required to send 300 well drilled men each to join in the event," said a veteran Burma-watcher in Chiangmai.
 
The army, according to Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), fields 555 infantry battalions distributed among its 13 regional commands, 10 divisions and 21 MOCs. An MOC is division size with 10 battalions each. However, according to Jane's Defense Weekly, 4 April issue, each battalion is way below strength barely averaging between 140-150.
 
It further reported that morale among the enlisted men is low, contributing to high rates of desertion. At the tri-annual meeting of senior officers, 11-15 September 2006, in Naypyidaw, Gen Shwe Mann reported manpower losses of 9,497 during a 4-month period preceding September 2006, much of this due to desertions.