Northern Military Command Threatens Closure of SSPP/SSA Liaison Office

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A Tatmadaw official accuses the Shan armed group of demanding ‘tax payment’ from a clinic in Lashio, a claim that the SSPP/SSA denies.

SSPP Info

Accusing a Shan armed group of demanding a “tax payment” from a medical clinic in Lashio, Shan State, the Burma Army’s Northern Military Command has threatened to close down the group’s liaison office in the town.

Maj Sai Than Aung, a spokesperson for the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), the group in question, recounted the exchange to SHAN.

He said that the Tatmadaw’s Lt-Col Banyar Win told SSPP/SSA liaison officer in Lashio Maj Aung Latt that someone from the SSPP/SSA had called a medical clinic in Lashio’s Ward 3 on Sunday evening asking for a tax to be paid to the armed organization. The Lt-Col allegedly warned that if another such case was reported, the SSPP/SSA office in Lashio would be closed by government forces.

 

The SSPP/SSA has denied the accusations.

“We don’t collect tax from anybody. We didn’t call a clinic and ask for money. An unknown group has tried to bring down our image,” said Maj Sai Than Aung.

A high-ranking official from the SSPP/SSA headquarters in Wanhai bawked at the allegation and told SHAN that any support that the organization has received has been voluntary.

“We don’t need to close a road or send letters to households to ask for money,” he said.

The SSPP/SSA is a member of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee, an alliance of armed groups based in Burma’s north. The SSPP/SSA has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military, but in 2012 signed state-level ceasefires with Burma’s former government led by U Thein Sein. Because of this arrangement, the organization was able to open liaison offices in Lashio, Kholam and Muse.

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