Sack of commander led to suspension of Wa road project

Removal of a wealthy Wa brigade commander in August had led to the suspension of the ambitious 4-lane highway project in Wa territory, according to sources from the Sino-Burmese border.

Sai Hsu aka Li Aisu (Photo: UWSA)
Sai Hsu aka Li Aisu, who is known to be close to Wei Xuegang, Commander of the United Wa State Army (UWSA)’s Thai-Burmese border based 171st Military Region, who is wanted on drug charges both in Thailand and the United States, is also the major shareholder of the Gangxu Company that had undertaken the construction of the motor road from the Mongla-Wa border to Panghsang, a distance of “5 hours drive”, according to them.

Li Aisu, Commander of the 468th Brigade, has been reduced to the civil administrator of Mongpawk (a district to the Wa, but a sub-township of Mongyang to Naypyitaw). One of the reasons cited for his dismissal was his hard line stance against the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), led by Lt-Gen Yawdserk, whose 20 officers and men were detained by the 171st on 30 July. They were released on 17 September.

Others say his name together with Wei is in the Chinese blacklist.

Only 10 km of the estimated 200km road has been completed. All vehicles used in the road construction have been moved to Nalawd near Panghsang, the Wa capital, to be used in the construction of the Panghsang-Manghseng road, said a Panghsang resident. (Manghseng is the gateway to Burma Army-controlled Tangyan township.)

“Many people, especially those whose homes were demolished to make way for the road he was building, are jubilant, saying it serves him right,” said a local source. “But others, especially businessmen and the UWSA, who want the work done, are disappointed.”

The 468th Brigade, that is responsible for defense against attacks from Mongkhark and Mongyang townships, for the time being, is directed by one of the UWSA’s most experienced commanders Sai Hsarm. Although there has been reports of Ta Ai Pan, Wa supreme leader Bao Youxiang’s nephew who was recently released from Burmese prison, being tabbed as the next commander, there are objectors in the top leadership against his appointment. He was arrested in 2005 together with 496 kg of heroin in Mongpiang.


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