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Burmese government troops scouring Shan State for SSA-N guerrillas

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Shan State Army–North is being pursued by Burmese army troops scouring the areas where it is active.

“Now, the army is searching the townships for our soldiers. At some places, we’ve confronted each other and fought,” SSA-N Major Sai Hla told Mizzima.

Troops of the Shan State Army above are now under assault by an offensive launched by Burmese government troops last week. Photo: SSAGovernment troops from the Northeast Command, East Command and Central Command were scouring Mong Hsu, Kyethi, Mong Yai, Hsipaw and Mong Naung, he said.

On September 22, about 50 soldiers from the government’s Light Infantry Unit No. 506 and SSA-N guerrilla troops fought for about 15 minutes between Kyethi and Hsipaw townships. The SSA-N gained the upper hand because of its familiarity with the area and aggressive tactics, said Sai Hla. Seven government soldiers were injured, he said.

He said SSA-N troops have had difficulty finding food, and they have been living in temporary camps and sleeping under tents because they are constantly on the move.
Major Sai Hla said the Burmese army has interrogated villagers who are suspected of supporting the SSA-N and some villagers were tortured and young women were raped.

A government officer in the Northeast Command said that reports of rape and torture were not true.

“We did not rape any women, and we did not torture any villagers. Our task is to search for enemy bases and fight them,” he told Mizzima.  He said that the SSA-N troops’ guerilla tactics would not prove to be effective in the long run.

A government announcement on August 18 said that armed ethnic groups wishing to make peace should contact the state or region concerned as a first step.

One day prior to the government’s announcement, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) sent a letter to President Thein Sein, urging the government to declare a nationwide temporary cease-fire and hold a political dialogue. The Shan State Progressive Party/SSA is a member of the UNFC.

Major Sai Hla said the government troops’ offensive shows that the government does not want to solve political problems in peaceful ways.

Meanwhile, Shan human rights groups said that more than 30,000 war victims had fled their villages and homes in northern Shan State because of the fighting and are in need of humanitarian aid.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 September 2011 12:45 )  

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