Sources report that the Mon Peace and Defense Front (MPDF), a Mon splinter group lead by former New Mon State Party (NMSP) Maj. Gen. Aung Naing, is currently leading a Burmese government-sanctioned military training in Thanphyuzayart Township, Mon State.
Allegedly, the MPDF is holding the training in hopes of attracting new members, so that it might increase its ranks enough to qualify as a State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) led Border Guard Force (BGF). IMNA’s field reporter in Thanphyuzayart Township learned that the group has been told by SPDC military authorities that the group needs 500 members to meet BGF standards. Before the commencement of its recruitment campaign in Mon State, military experts estimated that the group was comprised of roughly 20 individuals.
To increase party membership, MPDF member Nai Shwe has been leading recruitment campaigns in Ye township and La-mine sub-township; members are also campaigning in Mudon and Thanphyuzayart townships, a Lamine resident who received recruitment information explained to IMNA.
According to IMNA’s field reporter, the training began since the first week of May and thirty-eight new members attended the course, which is currently being held at a Buddhist temple in Yathaetaung village, Thanphyuzayart Township.
“Currently, the MPDF is campaigning amongst former members of New Mon State Party and graduated students [from university], ” reported the Lamine resident.
This source explained that while the group had succeeded in getting average civilians to attend the Thanphyuzayart training, preference was clearly given to more educated and NMSP-associated recruits.
“Some villagers were titled as lieutenant and some were titled as second lieutenant” said resident from Lamine.
In contrast, University graduates are reportedly to be titled captains, while former NMSP members will at the very least become commanders if they join the MPDF.
Nai Aung Naing resigned from the NMSP in 2008. The MPDF is currently based in Pa-an Township, Karen State. At the time of IMNA’s last article about the party, published in January 2010, the party was rumored tentatively aligned with a second Mon splinter group, Nai Shaung’s “Rehmonya group”, but this alliance has yet to be formally confirmed.