Monday, July 24, 2017

After lull, clashes resume in Shan State

Clashes were reported to have resumed yesterday between two ethnic armies in northern Shan State following a pause of several weeks.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army said fighting had erupted with the Restoration Council of the Shan State (RCSS) near Sai Lain village in Mine Ton/ Mong Ton township.

“Fighting started at 8:50am. According to reports from on the ground, minor clashes continued until evening. The fighting area was far away from local people,” said Mong Aik Kyaw, a TNLA spokeperson.

Tatmadaw troops had withdrawn from some positions in northern Shan State early in April so fighting had subsided compared to the previous month, he said. The Tatmadaw deployed reinforcements as clashes between the two ethnic armies flared up, he added.

The RCSS, which signed last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement, has denied accusations by the TNLA that it is collaborating with the Tatmadaw in a bid for territorial expansion in northern Shan. Clashes that began last year led to the displacement of several thousand civilians, many of whom have since returned to their homes.

On the night of April 25 fighting also occurred in Mine Ton township between the Tatmadaw and TNLA troops. There were injuries on both sides but neither released any official numbers.

On the same day a brief, 15-minute skirmish between the RCSS and TNLA was reported in Namhsan township in the Palaung Self-administered Zone.