The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has denied printing its own banknotes after rumors to that effect began swirling on Facebook last week.
“This is an old story,” Nyi Yan, head of the UWSA liaison office in Lashio, Shan State, told Eleven. He said the rumors were spread by people who want to “incite the government and army” against the UWSA.
“Everyone knows it is not true…It is not meaningful and has no proof,” he said.
The Facebook rumors read as follows: “The UWSA mortgaged gold for their own currency at a bank in China and said a 100-unit banknote of the UWSA is equivalent to K20,000. The Wa region is a self-administered zone in Shan State and is not granted state status, although they have their owned police force and use Chinese and Wa as their official languages. They do not allow Myanmar government employees to enter in their region.
“[Myanmar] army commanders cannot go there without notifying them in advance. Now they are printing banknotes. What can the Central Bank of Myanmar do? They say they cannot tolerate if the intruders touch one inch of their land, and what can they do now? They say they cannot accept the secession of [any part of] the country, and what can they do now?”
The UWSA said it is investigating the rumors.
According to Myanmar Peace Monitor, the UWSA has around 30,000 soldiers and nearly 10,000 auxiliary forces.
The UWSA signed a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government in 1989 and a peace agreement in 2013, but it has not signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA). The group leads the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) – a bloc of ethnic militias that has said it will not sign the NCA.