Since the 2021 coup there has been a steady stream of defectors from an ever more brutal regime. The ranks of soldiers and police defectors have added to large numbers of CDM doctors nurses and teachers, who found sanctuary in the EAO -controlled jungle areas.
Six soldiers from the Military Council’s Light Infantry Battalion 404 platoon 2, from the Kaw Ko Hta camp on the banks of the Salween River in the 5th Brigade-controlled area told KIC, that they ran away because they could no longer tolerate the abusive treatment, injustice and unfair coercion, imposed their army commanders.
Among those who fled, private Kyaw Min Oo said “I’ve been planning to run away for a long time and I don’t want to take up weapons anymore.
Our commander only thinks of himself, his position and his promotion. He didn’t care about his men. He does what he wants to do. That’s why we got together and agreed to desert when we got the chance. I gave up my life and jumped into the river.”
The Kaw Ko Hta camp has more than 40 Military Council soldiers], and most of the privates do not want to take up weapons, and only want to leave the army, according to the deserters.
“ Our battalion commander is no good; The platoon leader is also no good. Before we ran away, there were other people who had deserted before our group. In our battalion, more than 30 have escaped including us. If this continues, there is 80% chance thatthe battalion will be decimated,” private Kyaw Min Oo continued.
Those deserters who have only 2 – 3 years of military service, did not choose voluntarily to join the army. They have all been recruited through coercion, deception, and forced conscription, they revealed to KIC news agency.
Brigadier General Tar Malar Thaw, KNLA Commander-in-Chief said that the KNLA is temporarily keeping the military council troops who have arrived, somewhere between Salween River and Moei River.
The KNLA Commander-in-Chief told KIC, “they will be processed according to the KNU’s Prisoner of War Law and held according to KNU policy. There are also some CDMs who have joined brigades. Others are protected as asylum seekers,” Brigadier General Tar Malar Thaw told KIC.
After the military coup, a large number of military council troops, police and government employees have taken shelter in Karen National Union (KNU) territory.