First Half of November Sees Nearly 30 Clashes in Northern Shan State
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has reported that they’ve had some 30 outbreaks of fighting with the Burma Army in northern Shan State in the first half of the month.
According to Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, they have had multiple clashes with the Burma Army between November 1 and 17.
“There are casualties in both sides. I don’t exactly know the exact number of casualties,” he told NMG, but said that the TNLA has collected the bodies of five Burma Army soldiers.
But Burma Army’s “true news information” told reporters that there was casualty but only one.
Maj Mai Aik Kyaw added that the Burma Army launched an air strike against Ta’ang forces on November 15 and 16.
“Two aircrafts attacked us for two consecutive days,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said.
The largest number of clashes occurred in the townships of Kutkai and Kyaukme.
“The Burma Army has attacked us with 105-mm and 120-mm shells from their military bases in Kyaukme and Mong Ngaw since November 11. They shot at us as well in Khun Kaw village and in the hills nearby the village,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw explained.
Intense fighting occurred around Khun Kaw, Taw Hpe and Ner Lway villages in Kyaukme recently. The Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) reported that more than 300 local people had fled their villages this week because of shelling in this area.
“Some of them have sought refuge in Mang Hkok village in Kyaukme Township and other people have fled to Pang Ning village in Namhsan Township,” TWO spokesperson Lway Chee Sangar told NMG.
Those who fled are in need of emergency aid, particularly since more than 280 people relocated to Pang Ning after the place where they were staying in Hkon Nguen village ran out of drinking water, food and shelter space.
“They have fled only with the clothes they were wearing. They could not bring their blankets and warm clothes,” Oam Kha Ngar, a local, told NMG. “Hkon Nguen village is a small village. So villagers could not provide shelter and food for these IDPs (internally displaced people).”
The IDPs said that they left their homes abruptly after shells hit their communities, killing their cattle, damaging homes and schools, and injuring civilians.
The TNLA said that the Burma Army has been initiating the attacks.
“The main reason for the clashes is the Burma Army’s offensive. In Kyaukme region, the Burma Army came to attack our military camp. That’s why the clashes occurred. Their military offensive has caused these clashes,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw told NMG.
Civil society groups in northern Shan State released a statement on November 16 demanding that armed groups refrain from targeting civilians, citing fighting in the areas of Kyaukme, Namhsan, Lashio, Hsipaw, Kutkai and Namphetka.