The International Herald Tribune reported Thursday that Myanmar military leaders are targeting members of the Wa ethnic group in Mong Hpen as part of the government's ongoing attempts to achieve national unity.
Military leaders said they are hopeful a new constitution and elections in 2010 could help Myanmar enjoy national consolidation.
With Wa rebels unresponsive to the military's call for complete subjugation to the central government, forces on both sides are preparing for an armed conflict.
"We were told to be ready and to keep a careful watch," United Wa State Army soldier Ai Yee said.
The Myanmar region along the Chinese border is regularly visited by Chinese residents looking to satisfy vices and China has remained a staunch supporter of peace talks for the area.
The Wa rebels are greatly outnumbered by the military forces, led by Myanmar's top military commanders, Senior Gen. Than Shwe and Vice Senior Gen.Maung Aye.
The Herald Tribune said the rebels, meanwhile, have the advantage of knowing the region better as well as a fearsome reputation stemming from their history of severing rival tribal members' heads.
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