Battles between Karen and junta forces rage near Thai border

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Junta soldiers who desert the army and manage to destroy or steal vehicles on their way out will be offered hefty cash rewards by Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), the underground administration has announced.

The biggest payout, 1 billion kyats or $500,000, is offered to anyone who steals a plane, helicopter or battleship from junta forces and hands it over to the resistance, the NUG said in a statement Thursday.

Those who seriously damage or destroy ships and aircraft can claim $300,000 while there is a $100,000 reward for those who destroy tank or aircraft fuel supplies.

The $100,000 reward is also available for those who destroy an Arms Factory, Armory, or Tank. Resistance fighters who steal or destroy vehicles are also eligible for the rewards, said the NUG statement, which is signed by Acting Chairman Duwa Lashi La.

“We have plans in place to be able to give out the reward money on the same day the application is submitted,” NUG finance minister Tin Tun Naing told Myanmar Now. “They just have to be brave enough to trust us. We are ready to keep our part of the contract. »

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the pilot of the machine or if you’re the engineering and maintenance team. You are all eligible for this award,” he added.

The awards are designed to encourage more junta personnel to defect and to hinder the military’s efforts to use taxpayer-funded weapons to assassinate people, he added.

Any person or organization that can provide sufficient evidence of meeting the criteria will be eligible for payment and will not be subject to legal action under the Protection of Public Property Act 1947, the NUG statement said.

Thousands of Burma Army ground troops have been killed in clashes with resistance fighters since last year’s coup, prompting the junta to rely more on air power .

The Myanmar Air Force has 275 active aircraft in its fleet, according to figures from Flight Global’s World Air Force Directory 2022.

Nyi Thuta, a military captain who defected last year, hailed the NUG plan and said there was a good chance the soldiers would accept the offer. “It’s okay if they just do it for the money,” he told Myanmar Now.

Sergeant Zaya, who was in the army for eight years before defecting after the coup, said the rewards would be very attractive to junta personnel.

“They give hundreds of thousands of dollars in rewards and there are very simple ways to destroy these vehicles,” he said. “All you have to do is put sand inside the engine and this plane will fall through the air. There are so many other ways too.

Captain Lin Htet Aung, a prominent military defector who helps others desert their posts, said the NUG announcement would deeply trouble the junta.

“We can certainly hope that the soldiers will come with important vehicles, but we shouldn’t jinx it,” he said. “However, this news will shake the army to its heart. I think this is another chance for the junta soldiers to join the revolution.

Kaung Htet Aung, a defector who as a soldier worked for the army’s weapons manufacturing wing in Pyay, said that for the NUG plan to work, it was vital that sufficient support was provided. in place for interested soldiers.

“This announcement will be of great interest to the soldiers, but no one will dare to do it without any help,” he said.

Tin Tun Naing said soldiers interested in the NUG offer can contact several organizations, including but not limited to defector support groups such as People’s Goal and People’s Embrace.

The latest figures from People’s Embrace show that more than 2,000 soldiers, including three lieutenant colonels, have defected since the coup.

And defectors say many more are interested in leaving the military. Khant Ko, an army captain who deserted his post last year, said hundreds of soldiers had contacted him since a newspaper report was published in March that two army officers Myanmar had been granted asylum in Australia.

In September last year, the NUG announced a budget of $700 million, sourced from crowdfunding, donations from wealthy members of the Burmese diaspora and secret lotteries.

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