Friday, 13 December 2019

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Hostilities resume in Shan State


The Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) resumed fighting with Myanmar government forces in Namkham Township, Shan State, in the early hours of Thursday morning, according to RCSS/SSA sources.

SSA soldiers in training Photo: Shan State Army (SSA) / Facebook
SSA soldiers in training Photo: Shan State Army (SSA) / Facebook
The Shan rebels said that Myanmar army Infantry Division No. 145 fired heavy weapons on its 701 base in Naung Ma Village in Namkham Township, north of the Mao [Shweli] River on the Sino-Myanmar border. The RCSS/SSA said it responded in retaliation.

“Despite the ceasefire agreement with the government, Infantry Division 145 attacked our base with heavy gunfire and an assault by some 100 soldiers,” said Maj. Sai Lao Hseng, the spokesman of the RCSS/SSA, which was previously known as the Shan State Army South.

“We have been actively undertaking anti-drug activities in the area recently in cooperation with local residents,” he said, adding that it was possible the government forces’ attack was linked to drug trafficking.

A Namkham resident told Mizzima that he heard the sound of artillery at around 3 am on Thursday, and that many villagers fled immediately into the urban area of Namkham. Some people headed to the Chinese border, he said.

A medical source said that seven injured soldiers from the Myanmar army were taken to Namkham Hospital for treatment, and three of them were later transferred to Muse Hospital for surgery.

The RCSS/SSA spokesman said that at least 10 government soldiers and one RCSS/SSA soldier were killed during the fighting.

In April, four people believed to be Myanmar government intelligence officials were reported missing in the area, and officials allege that the RCSS/SSA had detained the men. Shortly after the alleged disappearance, a government unit searched a Shan base and then torched it to the ground, according to Sai Lao Hseng.

The RCSS/SSA spokesman said they sent a letter to the Myanmar government’s Peace Making Committee Vice-chairman Minister Aung Min to enquire about the case, but had received no reply.

The Myanmar government and the RCSS/SSA signed a ceasefire agreement in May 2012.

For more background:
  1. Shan groups warn Thein Sein of continuing fighting 
  2. RCSS-SSA and Government reached 12-point peace agreement