Border Guard Force Scheme

During the run up to elections in April 2009, the government announced the BGF force scheme for all ceasefire groups. This rushed attempt to absorb ethnic militia groups into the national army meant these groups were required to give up most of their autonomy without the promised political discussions taking place.

After several extensions of the deadline, the definitive deadline expired in Sept 2010, after which the government announced all ceasefires “null and void”. The run up to and eventual breakdown in the first round of ceasefires saw the military step up pressure on ethnic militia groups.

economically: blocked Chinese border trade through the KIO’s Laiza headquarters, refused to renew the operating licence of Yangon Airways run by the UWSA Chairman’s son.

politically: ordered the closure of all but two of the KIO liaison offices in government- controlled areas, barred a Kachin Political Party, KSPP, from registering and contesting in the 2010 elections, and referred to ceasefire groups as “insurgents” in the media.

militarily: attacked the MNDAA (Kokang) and captured their headquarters (August 2009), many militia groups reported military build-up near their outposts and some have even been attacked – the worse now being in Kachin state and Northern Shan State.

The government however changed its aggressive stance on August 18, 2011 when President Thein Sein pledged to make the ethnic issue a national priority, offering dialogue with all armed groups and dropping key preconditions for talks, namely the BGF requirement. Nevertheless the Border Guard Force scheme remains a part of the government’s peace plan and is listed as point 8 in the Union level peace negotiations’ 8-points: “To coordinate existence of only a single armed forces in accord with the Constitution”.

Description

There is no official governmental document that defines their BGF policy. The people’s militia force is mentioned in the Defense Services, Chapter 7, of the 2008 constitution. However, the wording is vague and no details about the role of the people’s militia are provided.

340. With the approval of the National Defence and Security Council, the Defence Services has the authority to administer the participation of the entire people in the Security and Defence of the Union. The strategy of the people’s militia shall be carried out under the leadership of the Defence Services.

According to a report by the Network for Democracy and Development called “Civil and Military Administrative Echelon in Burma” (August 2011), the structure and organization of the Border Guard Force and People Military Group are detailed below:

Border Guard Force (BGF) is a regular military force and has a military structure like the Myanmar Army. Although the battalion commander is from the ethnic armed group, the Myanmar army is in total control over the activities of the BGF and work together during military operations.

The BGF has a total of 326 personnel of which 3% are Myanmar army soldiers, including commanding officers and other rank officers. Among them, 30 soldiers from the Myanmar army including officers work together with ethnic soldiers in the battalion and take important administrative positions in the BGF.

BGF battalion commanders can promote their soldiers and are allowed to use heavy weapons like motors provided by the Myanmar army. However a BGF battalion is only allowed to patrol in their active area while a Myanmar army battalion can be deployed freely is any area. For instance, a Myanmar army battalion under LID 88 in Magwe region can be deployed in Kachin State, while a Karen BGF cannot be deployed in Kachin State.

bgf mya

bgf2

People Military Group (PMG) is not a regular force like the Myanmar army and the BGF. It does not have a military structure and there are no soldiers from the Myanmar Army serving in the PMG. There is no ranking system in the PMG and it is run in a group leadership style. The PMG does not have an exact number of soldiers like the BGF. For instance: a BGF has 326 troopers in a battalion but a PMG has less than 100 soldiers. PMG soldiers do not need to attend military training provided by the Myanmar army and they do not get their salary from the Myanmar army. Nevertheless its activities are monitored by the Myanmar Army,

The PMG does not have to take full time duty in military affairs like the Myanmar army and BGF. It also does not need to fully participate in military operations. It is only responsible for assisting the Myanmar army, for example showing the way to headquarters or camps of ethnic armed groups and collecting information about ethnic armed groups for the Myanmar army.

PMG leaders are permitted to run businesses in their active area to finance their activities. However they are not allowed to patrol outside their active area and are not allowed to use heavy weapons.

Progress

So far the major groups to have transformed into Border Guard forces and People Militia Forces are: NDA-K, KNPLF, MNDAA, Lahu Militia group, DKBA, KDA, battalions from SSA-N and SSA-S as well as splinter groups from other major groups.

Border Guard Force****Each battalion of the Border Guard Forces (BGF) has 326 soldiers, including 18 officers and 3 commanders (one from the Tatmadaw). BGFs are only deployed within its territory and paid the same salary as normal soldiers.

#BGFControlled areaCommanderFormedFormer Militia Group
1No. 1001Gant Gwan and Chi PhweMaj. Deltan Khaung Lum8 Nov 2009NDA-K, Kachin state
2No. 1002Lupi, Chi Phwe and Pang WahMaj. Lanjaw Saung Taint8 Nov 2009NDA-K
3No. 1003Sin Kyaing and Kan Pai TeeMaj. Wamthe Dai Khaun8 Nov 2009NDA-K
4No. 1004Pan-tain and LoikawMaj. Ree Samar8 Nov 2009KNPLF, Kayah state
5No. 1005Sop-pai and LoikawMaj. Se Moenel8 Nov 2009KNPLF
6No. 1006Lauk-kaiMaj. Yang Xao Kying4 Dec 2009MNDAA (Kokang army), Shan state
7No. 1007Ponpa-kyin and Mong TonMaj. Japi Kwe30 Mar 2010Lahu militia group in Mong Ton and Mong Sert township, Shan state
8No. 1008Mong Yu and Mong Yawng30 Mar 2010Combined forces of Lahu militia group in Mongkoe village and Jakuni militia group in Talay township, Shan state
9No. 1009TachilekMaj. Sai Aung18 May 2010Lahu milita group in Tachilek township, Shan state
10No. 1010Makman- KengtungUnknown20 May 2010Makman militia group in Mong Pyin township, Shan state
11No. 1011Pantawmi – Hlaing bweUnknown18 Aug 2010DKBA in Hlaing bwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
12No. 1012Kyonhtaw- Hlaing BweMaj. Saw Beh18 Aug 2010DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
13No. 1013Kataihte – PhapunMaj. Saw Hla Kyaing18 Aug 2010DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
14No. 1014Tanta-Oo and Pha punUnknown18 Aug 2010DKBA in Hlaingbwe and Myaing-gyi-nyu area, Karen state
15No. 1015Paikyon – Hlaing bweMaj. Saw Win Naing Sein20 Aug 2010DKBA in Paikyon area, Karen state
16No. 1016Dawlan – Hlaing bweMaj. Saw Myat Khaing20 Aug 2010DKBA in Paikyon area, Karen state
17No. 1017Maepalae – MyawaddyUnknown20 Aug 2010DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
18No. 1018Shwe Kokko – MyawaddyMaj. Saw Maung Win20 Aug 2010DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
19No. 1019Taw-Oak and MyawaddyMaj. Saw Lik Theint20 Aug 2010DKBA in Maepalae area, Karen state
20No. 1020Htiwakalay – MyawaddyMaj. San Lin21 Aug 2010DKBA in Hteehuthan area, Karen state
21No. 1021Hteehuthan and Kaw kareikMaj. Saw Beelu21 Aug 2010DKBA in Hteehuthan area, Karen state
22No. 1022Atwin-kwin-kalay and MyawaddyUnknown21 Aug 2010DKBA in Myitta-lin-myaing area, Karen state
23No. 1023Kyeikdon and Kya-Inn-Seik-gyiMaj. Saw Eh Htoo21 Aug 2010DKBA in Kyeikdon area, Karen state

People’s Militia Group***Each People’s Militia Group has less than 100 members and is under the control of the Tatmadaw.

#NameControlled areaCommanderFormedFormer Militia Group
1Lawayang militia groupGwe-htu, Lawayang, Wine mawCol. La San Awng Wah16 Oct 2009Split from KIO/KIA
2Rawan militia groupKhaung Lan hpu (Puta-O)Tan Ku TanUnknownFormed by Burma Army
3Kaung-kha (1)Kaung-kha, KotkaiUnknown19 Jan 2010Kachin Defence Army (KDA)
4Kaung-Kha (2)Loi-khan, Kotkai (kut khai)Unknown19 Jan 2010KDA
5Kaung-kha (3)Hophyat, KotkaiUnknown19 Jan 2010KDA
6Kaung-kha (4)Loi Tauk, KotkaiUnknown19 Jan 2010KDA
7Kaung-kha (5)Manglin, KotkaiUnknown19 Jan 2010KDA
8Sein-kyauk (1)Sein-kyauk, Thipaw (hsipaw)10 May 2010SSA-N (Shan State Army – North)
9Sein-kyauk (2)Sein-Kyauk, Thipaw10 May 2010SSA-N
10Mong-khayMong-khay, Thipaw10 May 2010SSA-N
11KaliKali, Kun Hein10 May 2010SSA-N
12Want-panWant-pan, Laikha29 Sept 2009SSA-S (758 brigade
13Nar-pweNar-pwe, Nam San29 Sept 2009SSA-S (758 brigade)
14TarlawgyiTarlawgyi and Sinbo areaU San WeiMay 2012formed by Burma Army

Regional People’s Militia group and Anti-insurgency group***Each group has less than 100 members and is under the control of Tatmadaw.

#NameArea/regionLeader
1Mann-pan groupMann-pan, Tang-yangSai Moon, Khun Hla (former PSLF)
2Mong-hin, Mong-haTang-yangLao Mar
3Naung Mo (Narkaw village group)Tang-yangYar BuKbr
Lahu area
4Mong KaungTang-yangPolice officer Saw Lu
5Nar KawTang-yangPolice officer Lao Tar
6Mong YuMuse
7Kyu-kokKyu-kok
8Mong-KoeMong-koeNaw Kham
9Mong-PawMong-koeGam Mai
10Shou HawMong-koeHla Myint
11Lon KhanMuse
12Pan-SeinnMuse
13Special Militia groupKot-kaiTe Khun Myat
elected MP in the 2010 election; many criticize him for his involvement in drug trading and taxation.
14Phong-hsaiKot-kaiKyi Khun Swe
15Special Ranger militia groupKot-kai
16Special militia groupKot-kaiPolice officer Zaw Aung
17Ta-moe-nyeKot-kaiMyint Lwin (a) Wamkawt Tar
18Pan-sayNam KhamKyaw Myint
elected MP in the 2010 election; many criticize him for his involvement in drug trading and taxation.
19Lon HtanLauk Kai
Kokang area
20Nam-matuNam-matu
21Mann TonMann TonU Than Nyan (former PSLF)
Palaung area
Share me now!

Myanmar Peace Monitor