The number of casualties remains unknown.
The Burma Army attacked a Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) camp in northern Shan State’s Tangyan Township this week, leading to a two-hour exchange of gunfire, SSPP representatives said.
The Tatmadaw’s Infantry Battalion 17 and Light Infantry Battalion 523 launched the offensive near Ner Peng village at around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, SSPP Secretary (2) Lt-Col Sai Su told SHAN.
“They attacked us while our forces were investigating drug cases. We arrested 29 drug users,” the lieutenant colonel said. “The Burma Army accused us of recruiting soldiers. I don’t know how many casualties there were on each side,” he added.
Reinforcement troops have reportedly been sent to the area by the Burma Army, which will likely lead to further clashes, the SSPP spokesperson said.
A local, who spoke to SHAN under the condition of anonymity, confirmed both that the Burma Army had tried to push the SSPP out of the area, but also alleged that SSPP had been recruiting soldiers.
Lt-Col Sai Su explained that SSPP troops were administering urine tests to identify suspected drug users in Tangyan, and that they were offering support in getting clean, followed by training in a rehabilitation camp.
The SSPP signed both state- and Union-level ceasefire agreements with the government but has opted to not sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, around which the current government-led peace process is centered.
Despite an extension of the Tatmadaw’s own unilateral ceasefire in five military command regions, including Shan State until August 31, clashes have repeatedly occurred in the region.