HomeAsiaThe online activists helping Myanmar troops desert

The online activists helping Myanmar troops desert

They name them “watermelon soldiers”, she added, as a result of the inexperienced of their uniforms hides their attachment to democracy and the purple flag of the ousted civilian administration led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Hla Min Kyaw, who abandoned after 10 years within the navy, instructed AFP he had to offer proof of identification in a number of varieties and was topic to a “battery” of questions.

Once he was cleared, he mentioned a “digital identity card” was despatched to his smartphone that facilitated entry to rebel-held territory.


The families of deserters can come below stress from the navy.

Zay Ya mentioned his family members had been “harassed” by safety forces and later they disowned him by way of a discover in a state-controlled newspaper.

Strengthening the resolve of these with doubts about leaving is a crucial a part of the work at People’s Goal, mentioned Nyi Thuta.

“We’re here to reassure them, to tell them that we know how hard it is because we’ve been through it before.”

In their new life some troopers soften away into communities alongside Myanmar’s porous borders, mentioned Emily.

Others go on their navy abilities to protesters who’ve taken up arms towards the junta.

Padoh Saw Thamain Tun of the Karen National Union – which has sheltered a number of deserters – mentioned they welcome former enemies “because we are fighting for the freedom of the whole population”.


The impact of desertions on Myanmar’s armed forces – which analysts estimate are round 350,000 to 400,000 sturdy – stays restricted.

A shadow National Unity Government of ousted lawmakers says about 2,000 troopers have abandoned for the reason that coup, however the determine is not possible to confirm.

“In the short term, desertions are an unwanted headache for the regime, but don’t meaningfully impact its fighting strength,” Richard Horsey of the International Crisis Group instructed AFP.

But activists say every small success from behind a pc is a step to a different win on the battlefield.

“A desertion of even a single cook is a victory because it has an impact on operations,” mentioned Emily.

“That’s what we’re aiming for. A soldier who deserts is a life saved on the ground.”



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