Monday, September 25, 2023

On first anniversary of Burma Army attack in central Shan State, government forces shell same township again

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The Burma Army launched artillery toward the headquarters of the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-N (SSPP/SSA-N) yesterday in Wan Hai, Kesi Township, according to S.H.A.N. reporters on the ground in central Shan State.

A Burma Army soldier stands outside a school in Kesi Township in 2014 which was used as a camp for government forces
A Burma Army soldier stands outside a school in Kesi Township in 2014 which was used as a camp for government forces

It is the same township where, in early October 2014, the Burma Army shelled villages, killing at least three locals and displacing hundreds, as was reported in English by both The Irrawaddy and the Myanmar Peace Monitor.

Yesterday’s attack started two miles from the SSPP/SSA-N headquarters, when the Burma Army Battalion 575 fired several artillery shells into the SSA’s Kong Mu Loi base located between Mong Hsu and Mong Nong Township. At the time of reporting, there were no known casualties.

“It was about 1:15 p.m. when the Burma Army shot into Kong Mu Loi,” said an SSPP/SSA-N officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We could hear the sounds of the big weapons here.”

The source also reported that evidence had been collected indicating government forces used 81 and 79 mm mortar shells in the attack.

About one hour earlier, on the same day, another clash occurred in Loi La Gan, south of Ta Sarm Bu, where S.H.A.N. reported the current series of clashes with SSPP/SSA-N began on October 6.

“Because of the fighting, the local people are so afraid to stay at their houses,” said a political party representative in Kesi Township. “Some of them fled to Mong Hsu and Mong Nong to stay with their relatives.”

The tension between the Burma military and SSPP/SSA-N reportedly escalated after the SSPP/SSA-N refused to participate in the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) on October 15 in Naypyidaw, the nation’s capital. The SSPP/SSA-N also rejected the latest ceasefire talks between government peace negotiators and ethnic armed groups earlier this month in Yangon.

In the statement published by Myanmar Peace Monitor in 2014, the SSPP/SSA-N described the government attacks on Kesi Township as “detrimental to the signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement and trust-building in the political discussions” but also asked that “all Ethnic Nationalities and revolutionary armed groups, political parties, the Tatmadaw, parliament, statesmen work together for the immediate signing of the nationwide ceasefire agreement.”

There are more than 20 non-state armed groups in Burma. The SSPP/SSA-N is one of the largest ethnic armed organizations that now refuses to sign the NCA, accompanied by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), among others.

By SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.)

(Edited in English by Simma Francis for S.H.A.N.)


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