Political Parties Appeal to Armed Groups to Refrain From Fighting Near Villages

Ta’ang and Shan political parties say that civilians are bearing the brunt of recent clashes in northern Shan State.

By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Ethnic political parties are calling on all armed groups to more closely consider the impact of fighting on civilians in northern Shan State.

Nang San San Aye, a Shan State parliamentarian with the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy representing Hsipaw Consituency (1) told NMG that the demand is “not only for ethnic armed organizations but all armed organizations” engaging in battles.

“I want them to fight outside of civilian areas. I want to urge them not to fight near villages and in villages. They can challenge and fight in places far away from civilian areas,” she said.

On Friday, the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) engaged in deadly clashes with another Shan armed group, the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) near Ner Lawt village in Hsipaw Township. Locals said that three civilians, including a fourth grade student, were killed in the fighting.

Troops from the SSPP/SSA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) clashed with the RCSS/SSA on the Namtu-Lashio road on November 17. A local woman was killed in the incident.

Members of the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) also backed the calls for fighting to cease, between ethnic armed organizations and with the Burma Army.

“People have suffered a lot because of doubts on both sides,” said Aung Myat, from the TNP’s Lashio office, and added that landmines are a big concern. “Farmers and villagers often step on landmines when they go to their farms. Civilians have lost their hands, legs and even their lives. These are the consequences of war.”

“I want to say ‘don’t hurt civilians,’” he added.

The SSPP/SSA and RCSS/SSA have exchanged accusations about who was to blame in the recent clashes in Hsipaw. The TNLA has reported that there have been 14 clashes between the RCSS/SSA and joint SSPP-TNLA forces in this month alone