TNLA Reports 130 Clashes with Burma Army This Year
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Sunday, October 6, 2019
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has clashed with Burmese government forces more than 130 times since the start of this year, according to the head of the group’s information department.
“There were over 130 clashes between January and September of this year,” Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG, adding that the largest number of clashes was in northern Shan State’s Kutkai Township.
“We have had clashes with the Burma Army in Kutkai, Kyaukme, Namhsan, Mangton, Namtu, Lashio, Namkham and Muse townships. The highest number occurred in Kutkai,” he said.
Last month, the TNLA, along with two other members of the Northern Alliance—the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA)—declared a unilateral ceasefire from September 9 to December 31 to support efforts to reach a bilateral agreement with the government and reduce clashes with the Burma Army.
Although no clashes are currently being reported in northern Shan State, the unilateral ceasefire by the ethnic armed groups—and one extended by the Burma Army until mid-September—did not bring an immediate end to the fighting.
“The number of clashes has declined dramatically in northern Shan State, but we had five or six clashes after we declared a unilateral ceasefire. They were caused by attacks on our forces by military columns of the Burma Army. But they’re not attacking us now, so there are no clashes at the moment,” said Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw.
The Burma Army’s unilateral ceasefire, which was first declared in December of last year, covers the Northern, Northeastern, Eastern, Central-Eastern and Triangle Regional Military Commands. The ceasefire was extended every two months until September 21. Many clashes occurred during this period.
Although there are no clashes at the moment in northern Shan State, the Burma Army continues to expand its forces in the TNLA’s territory.
Fighting intensified in the latter half of August after a combined force of TNLA, AA and MNDAA troops carried out coordinated attacks on the Burma Army’s technological university in Pyin Oo Lwin Township and army camps in northern Shan State on August 15.
While there has been far less fighting in the area since the Northern Alliance declared its unilateral ceasefire, clashes between the Burma Army and the AA continue on an almost daily basis in Rakhine and Chin states.