Burma Army Clashes With RCSS, TNLA Multiple Times in First Week of October

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Burma Army continues to clash with ethnic armed organizations in northern Shan State, including the and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

Fighting with the RCSS has broken out in Kyaukme Township, while battles with the TNLA have taken place in Kutkai, Mogok, and Tangyan townships.

RCSS spokesperson Lt-Col Oum Khur said that they have had at least 10 clashes in the first week of October. The RCSS has accused the Burma Army of launching an offensive into RCSS-controlled territory, and initiating activity in the area without informing the armed group’s liaison office in Kyaukme.

“The Burma Army frequently attacks the RCSS. They are breaking the NCA,” he said, referring to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), to which the RCSS is a signatory. “It could lead to a military standoff between the two forces. If clashes continue, we are worrying that they will occur in a wider area. They could occur on the roads or enter into urban areas.”

He added that tension remains high in Kyaukme as the Burma Army continues to send more troops to the area.

Maj. Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, counted six times that Ta’ang forces have fought with the Tatmadaw nine times in October.

“The Burma Army has extended its unilateral ceasefire [declaration] for another month. A day after they announced the extension, they launched an offensive,” he told NMG.

The office of the military’s commander-in-chief has not released any information about the fighting in northern Shan State.

On October 6, the Tatmadaw’s information team reported that the Burma Army had exchanged gunfire fight with the RCSS nearly 3,000 meters east of Hkant Hkae village in Kyauktme Township two days earlier while government troops had been patrolling the area. They alleged that RCSS shells had landed in the village and injured a local.

The Burma Army has accused the RCSS of expanding their territory from southern to northern Shan State, therefore instigating conflict, a claim which the RCSS denies. The RCSS maintains that the demarcation of armed organizations’ territory must be discussed and respected in line with the NCA.