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Fighting breaks out between government and Shan troops

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Fighting broke out at the weekend between Burmese government troops and two battalions of Shan State Army-North (SSA-N), based in Kyethi Township in Shan State.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties, according to SSA-N sources.

Shan soldiers celebrate Shan State National Day in this file photo. Photo: MizzimaIn the six-hour fight, started at 2 p.m. on Saturday, both sides used both heavy and light weapons, according to Major Sai Hla of the SSA-N. One government soldier was killed and eight were injured. Six Shan soldiers are receiving medical treatment for their injuries, he said. 

The fighting took place near Wan Phui Village, seven miles north east of Kyethi.

“They [the government troops] also carried away their soldiers who were injured. They withdrew [from the battle zone] because the two sides were evenly matched. We also withdrew,” Major Sai Hla told Mizzima.

At around 9 a.m. on Sunday, Burmese government’s Infantry No. 503 fired heavy weapons into the jungle where SSA-N troops were camped, but the Shan troops had already moved, according to the SSA-N.

On August 11, Burmese government’s Infantry No. 35 led by Major Myo Saw Maung under North East Command fired heavy weapons into Wansant Village in Mong Yai, believing there were people linked with Shan armed groups in the area, according to Major Sai Hla.

Because of the attack, three primary students and six adults were injured, he said. The village head’s house and the village secretary’s house were burned in the attack. He claimed more fighting would take place in the areas controlled by SSA-N because the Burmese government were deploying more weapons and provided more food to its troops in nearby areas.

In a joint statement released on August 10 by the Thailand-based Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), more than 31,700 people from villages in nine townships in Northern Shan State, namely Mong Hsu, Mong Yai, Kyethi, Tang Yang, Hsipaw, Kyaukme, Lashio, Namhsan and Nankhan, had fled into the jungle near their villages because of fighting between SSA-N and Burmese government troops.

SSA-N said that some of the war refugees hiding in the jungle had returned to the nearby villages at Wanhai headquarters, but a doctor from Tang Yang Township Hospital told Mizzima that it seemed only a very limited number of war refugees could go back to their villages because of the instability.

Similarly, fighting between the Burmese government troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke out in Kachin State on August 14. Government’s Infantry No. 37 under Northern Command and KIA’s Battalion No. 18 under Brigade No. 5 fought near Nansangyang Village in Waimaw Township, according to La Nang, spokesman of Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of KIA.

Both sides used both heavy and light weapons in the one hour of fighting and one government soldier was killed, said La Nang. The KIA did not suffer any casualties. Despite meetings between government officials and the KIO on August 1 and 2, a cease-fire agreement had not been reached, he said. 

Giving this situation and with no cease-fire agreement, shooting can take place in these circumstances, La Nang told Mizzima.

He said there was very little possibility of making peace given the government response.

“According to government’s statements and press conferences, there is just a faint possibility for holding dialogue. If dialogue cannot be held, the fighting will become more intense. If the government has good will and is willing to hold political dialogue, negotiations could be successful,” La Nang said.
Last Updated ( Monday, 15 August 2011 23:06 )  

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