After the two sides reached an agreement last month to hold joint field inspections in northern Shan State’s Tangyan Township, both the Burma Army and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) made efforts to add troop reinforcements to their respective positions in the area, the SHAN has learned.
Both armies reached an agreement on April 30th that would allow joint inspections of camps located along the Loi Hsur-Loi Leng ridge. The ridge is located in the south of Tangyang town, east of Tangyan-Mong Hsu road and west of the Salween River.
“We have reached an agreement to hold the inspection on [May] the 12th. We are now discussing at
the headquarters who will lead from our side. We have learned that the Tangyan-based Tactical Operations Commander Colonel Wai Linn Aung will lead the Burma Army’s side. In which form will they do the inspection? If it is an acceptable extent, it is okay for us,” said an official based at the SSPP/SSA’s headquarters.
An SSA commander stationed at the front expressed frustration at some of the army’s demands. “They told us to fill up all the trenches and take down all the military camps because they don’t want to see them when they come to make the inspection. What should we do? We are soldiers. This issue is unacceptable. It’s an insult,” the commander said.
A person close to the Burma Army’s North Eastern Command office in Lashio told the SHAN that the Burma Army wants to establish a new military base between the SSPP/SSA’s military base
and its military camps. It wants to establish the military base at a higher location than the SSPP/SSA’s military base without having to engage in battles.
Last month the commander of the North Eastern Command instructed the SPP/SSA to clear its military camps along the Loi Hsur-Loi Leng ridge in Tangyan Township an April 22nd deadline. The SSPP/SSA disagreed with this idea. When the Burma Army initially requested to hold a joint inspection of the SPP/SSA’s military camps on April 27th, the SPP/SSA did not agree.
The Burma Army used a similar strategy in the past, requesting to hold joint inspections of SSPP/SSA positions as it made preparations on the ground to take over Tar Phar Saung Bridge in 2014 and Tar Sarm Puu Kuu To Seik in 2015.
Although the SSPP/SSA has so far declined to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), during Thein Sein’s time in office the group signed a bilateral ceasefire with the central government that officially remains in effect.