Two bandit leaders whose gang who killed two Karen National Union (KNU) soldiers and robbed bus passengers in the Malwha Mountains near the Yephyu Township checkpoint in Tanintharyi Region on 10th December have escaped to the Thai-Burma border.
Someone close to the bandit leaders, Nai Alon and Nai Asong, told Photphaw News on 17th December that they had gone to the border region on 12th December.
He said: “Since both the government army and the KNU have been searching for them, they cannot stay in the Yephyu area so they have run away to the Thai-Burma border. When I asked them what specific place of the border area, they did not tell me.”
The 10-man armed gang was robbing jewelry, money and telephones from 45 passengers on the number 4F/7946 Aung Yatanar Bus Company air-conditioned bus from Yangon to Dawei at about 6pm on 10th December, when they were disturbed by two KNU soldiers.
Lt. Saw Khin Win and private Saw Maung Lay from KNU brigade No.4 were both in uniform when they pulled up in their car behind the bus as it was being robbed. The bandits mistook them for government soldiers and shot at them.
Private Saw Maung Lay died on the spot. Lt. Saw Khin Win was hit twice in the stomach and died on the way to Ye Township Hospital.
The bandits seized a pistol and a machine gun from the two KNU soldiers.
When the New Mon State Party (NMSP) war office heard about the robbery they ordered their battalions from Dawei District Area under the command of Brigade No. 2 to stop and arrest the bandits according to an NMSP officer who spoke to Phophtaw News on condition of anonymity.
KNU Deputy Commander Saw Phoe Lay and his No. 10 battalion under the command of Brigade No. 4 based in Myeik and Dawei have also been trying to apprehend the bandits according to an unnamed officer from Brigade No. 4.
Unfortunately, no one was able to arrest the bandits and the two brothers who lead them, Nai Along and Nai Asong, before they escaped to the border area. Prior to that they were moving around and active in the area around Pauk-Pin-Kwin Village in Yephyu Township, Tanintharyi Region.
They are successors to the notorious bandit leaders Nai Abin and Nai Aloain, whose group, The Mon National Watch, was formed between 1996 and 1997.
Despite the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military government’s best efforts to capture them in a 2003 special operation called Aung Moe Gyo Military Operation No. 3 the bandits remained at large.
Nai Abin and Nai Aloain finally surrendered in 2012 to Military Operations Command (MOC) No. 19 based in Ye Township. The current fugitive bandits, Nai Alon and Nai Asong were part of this group but refused to surrender. Nai Abin’s wife is the elder sister of Nai Alon and Nai Asong.
The robbery occurred in Tanintharyi Region, just over the border from Mon State. At the border between the two regions there is a security checkpoint manned by a government police unit and a government army unit. Government army infantry Battalion 299 also have a base at the foot of Malwha Mountains in Thanintaryi Region.
Despite this apparent tight security the bandits robbed the bus on the main road between the border checkpoint and Battalion 99’s base.
Phophtaw News have tried several times to get an interview with Col. Aung Lwin, the border and security minister of Tanintharyi Region, the Yephyu Township police head office and the Yephyu Township police station, but no one would speak to them.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI
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