Hundreds Displaced By Fighting Between Burma Army And SSPP/SSA

By Network Media Group
Saturday, July 25, 2020

More than 200 people were displaced after fighting broke out between armed groups near their village in northern Shan State.

“When we heard the sounds of gunfire, we fled our village,” said Sai Lao Kham, from Ner Ohn, located in Hsipaw Township. He told NMG everyone left the village after clashes between Burma Army and Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP/SSA) broke out on July 22.

Ner Ohn residents sought refuge from hostilities in the security of Soung Kye Buddhist monastery in the village of the same name.

Sai Lao Kham said one villager, who was pregnant, gave birth just after arriving at the monastery. Another woman had her baby days before fighting started. When the clashes broke out between Ner Ohn and Pan Ohn villages, she had to run with her baby on her back in the rain. Sai Lao Kham said elderly villagers struggled to run from the soldiers.

Residents of Soung Kye provided assistance to the displaced villagers. Several Hsipaw Township parliamentarians also provided food.

Villagers are monitoring the fighting, hoping it will end quickly, allowing them to return to their farms to finish harvesting their crops.

NMG contacted SSPP/SSA and Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team for comment, but no-one responded. Neither of the armed groups reported the clashes online.

The Burma Army was also fighting with the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army in Kyaukme Township since late June, with hostilities residing in recent days.

The Burma Army announced a unilateral ceasefire in the country between May 10 and August 31, except Rakhine State and southern Chin State, where it’s fighting with the Arakan Army. It claimed the unilateral cease-fire was intended to control the spread of COVID-19, but since announcing it Tatmadaw troops have been moving into areas controlled by ethnic armed organizations leading to fighting.

The SSPP/SSA signed a bi-lateral ceasefire agreement with the government in 2012 but is not a signatory of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.