Mawlamyine, September (13)

A group called the Five Columns for regional development, which includes employees from various departments under the military council in Mon State, is mobilizing locals to cooperate with the military and provide local news.

A group consisting of chiefs of staff from 21 departments at the township level in Mon State has been mobilizing the residents since the second week of this month under the name of community peace, the rule of law, security, education, health, social agriculture, and prevention of human trafficking, as well as injection of a full dose of COVID-19.

According to a resident who attended the meeting, the groups’ main objective was to persuade the locals to work with the military council and take part in joint security initiatives.

In addition to this, they urged the people to participate in the upcoming election to be held by the junta in 2023, and also said that they would provide health care for the people.

Under the direction of junta-appointed State Chief Minister U Zaw Lin Tun, this program is now being carried out in the townships of Mawlamyine and Kyaikmaraw, and it is intended to be implemented in every township of Mon State.

According to a report leaked in February of this year, the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing issued three directives to counterattack the National Unity Government (NUG) and People’s Defense Forces (PDFs).

The instructions were to form a militia group consisting of former soldiers and policemen; to form five columns to carry out campaigning in the area; and to get information about the PDF in various ways.

The five columns include five groups, namely administrative, political, regional development, social affairs, and mobilization. The administrative column includes the general administration departments, lawyers, police officers, rural development departments, and township election officers.

The task of this column is to assist the village administrators in their processes and to mobilize the local people to follow the orders issued by the military council.

The political column led by a major, including members of the township management committee, is to lobby and spread propaganda about the five-point road map and nine goals set by the coup leader.

The regional development column is led by the township’s rural road department, and the social column includes officials from the township’s health and education departments.

It is reported that there are more than 30 members, led by a major, in the five columns in Mon State.

Residents of Mon State claim that the five columns are made up of staff from the departments of rural development, health, and education, but in reality, they are merely teaming up to get information about the PDFs and work with the military council.

News – Than Lwin Times

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