Heavy weapons were fired on Friday in Namhsan town as forces from the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) engaged in a battle lasting for hours.
The Burma Army shot at the TNLA using helicopters, witnesses said. The clash occurred on Taung Yo Pagoda hill, where the TNLA is based in the area.
“They fought until 3:00 p.m.,” Namhsan resident Lway Aye told SHAN. SHAN was also informed that fighting began at 7:00 a.m. on Friday morning. “We heard the very loud sound of artillery being fired. Combat helicopters were carrying out attacks in the clashes. All the houses were closed up,” she explained.
Lway Aye said that locals were hiding in their homes and praying for the fighting to stop.
TNLA spokesperson Maj Tar Aik Kyaw confirmed the fighting and said that military tension remains high.
“Clashes intensified today. We fought near Ho Chaung village from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Then clashes stopped for a while. The Burma Army’s combat helicopters attacked us at around 2:00 p.m.,” he said on Friday, adding that the Burma Army “frequently opened fire with heavy weapons.
The Burmese government’s Peace Commission has asked the Northern Alliance—a group of ethnic armed organizations that includes the TNLA—to meet for a second round of talks in Kengtung, eastern Shan State, from September 16-17. The first round of discussions was held on August 31.
“The clashes can impact the peace talks—it creates more difficulties. It can cause mutual trust to decrease,” Maj Tar Aik Kyaw said.
SHAN called the Burma Army’s True News Information Team for comment on the clashes in Namhsan, but, at the time of reporting, no one had answered.
The Burma Army and the members of the Northern Alliance have engaged in multiple clashes in northern Shan State since August 15. According to civil society groups, at least 10 civilians have been killed and 26 have been injured.
Amidst ongoing fighting, the Burma Army extended its unilateral ceasefire until September 21. The Northern Alliance declared a one-month ceasefire of its own from September 9 until October 8.