Locals are concerned by the Burma Army’s use of helicopters to monitor movements of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) after fighting broke out on Wednesday morning in southern Shan State’s Kolam Township.
The Burma Army Battalion No. 152, with about 45 troops, clashed with the RCSS/SSA at Wan Kong village, 10 miles from southern Shan State’s Kolam Town in the township of the same name. According to RCSS/SSA sources, three Burma Army soldiers were killed and one was seriously wounded.
“The clash broke out at about six or seven in the morning,” said Col. Sai Hla, an RCSS representative. “The Burma Army lost a lot of soldiers and then they used helicopters to fight against us.”
The fighting continued until 10 a.m., he added.
It was reported yesterday by the Tai Freedom Shan language website that the military used the five helicopters to locate RCSS/SSA soldiers on the ground.
Col. Sai Hla echoed an RCSS report released on Wednesday, speculating that the renewed clash comes amid the Burma Army’s efforts to take control of RCSS/SSA controlled-areas. The report describes a wider military strategy in which the Burma Army searches for and then attacks Shan troops in the region.
“Villagers are now fearful because of the Burma Army’s use of helicopters in the area. They are so worried about their security,” said Sai Thurein Oo, the Parliament member representing Namzang Township.
Since late August, seven clashes have been reported between the Burma Army and the RCSS/SSA in the Shan State townships of Namzang, Loilem, Kunhing, Mauk Mai, Lang Khur and Kyaukme.
The RCSS/SSA also requested that political parties stop their election campaigns in the areas where fighting is taking place. A nationwide legislative election is scheduled for November, and the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement has been tentatively proposed for early October.
By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)