SSPP officials claim RCSS was involved in the fighting; RCSS denies participating.
Forces from the Burma Army attacked the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) camp on Loi Pan Hkar mountain using helicopter gunships on Sunday afternoon, SSPP/SSA sources said.
The post is located in the area where Kesi, Mongkai, Mongyai and Hsipaw townships meet.
According to SSPP officials, government military columns from Mongton and the village of Wanli began to fire on the SSPP camp at around 7:00 a.m. on Sunday. By 4:00 p.m., helicopters were shooting at the camp from the air.
“Because helicopter gunships were attacking us, two civilians got injured,” SSPP/SSA officer Sai Kon told SHAN on Sunday, referring to locals from the Pan Hkar area. “Clashes were very intense today. Two military columns from the government forces attacked us.”
He also alleged that troops from the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) had attacked the SSPP/SSA camp alongside government forces.
“There were a total of 500 soldiers from the combined forces,” Sai Kon said, referring to the RCSS and the Burma Army, adding that the attacks on Loi Pan Hkar dated back to March 7.
Chief liaison officer of the RCSS/SSA’s Taunggyi office Col Sai Oo denied the involvement of his organization in the fighting.
“Our forces were not involved in this clash. The clashes are only between the SSPP/SSA and the government forces,” he told SHAN on March 8.
Troops from the two Shan armed groups—the RCSS/SSA and SSPP/SSA—have clashed in Kyaukme, Hsipaw and Namtu townships in northern Shan State, reportedly over territorial disputes. The fighting has subsequently displaced more than 2,500 people.
Although the Burma Army declared a four-month unilateral ceasefire on December 21, 2018, in five command regions—including Shan State—its military columns have continued to attack SSPP/SSA outposts.