Fighting between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State’s Kyaukme Township have made travel in the area impossible, locals say.
The clashes occurred on Monday near Taw Hpae village in Kon Kauk village tract and intensified by the evening. Government troops based in Mong Ngaw opened fire on the TNLA using heavy weapons, with locals treating the area between Mong Ngaw and Kyaukme as a conflict zone.
“We heard the sound of guns shooting from Taw Hpae, Kon Kauk. It was getting louder by around 7:00 p.m.,” Lon Sai, an elderly resident of Kyaukme, told SHAN. “I heard seven to eight rounds of heavy weapons fired by the Burma Army from Mong Ngaw. Nobody dares to travel between Mong Ngaw and Kyaukme.”
He added that the current period is known as “Kahtein,” a time marking one month since the end of Buddhist Lent. It is common for locals to travel to temples and make merit during this time, but this ritual has been stopped by the ongoing fighting.
The TNLA reported that a joint military column from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Divisions 77 and 88, from Kein Le village, attacked the TNLA’s Brigade 765 near Taw Hpae. Shooting has been off and on since then, with tension remaining high, locals said.
“I heard the sound of guns shooting until 3:00 p.m. on November 12. I think it’s one-sided shooting,” Sai Tun Win, a parliamentarian representing Kyaukme Township, told SHAN. He added that to his knowledge, no locals had been displaced from the area by this recent bout of fighting.
The Burma Army and the TNLA have recently fought in other northern Shan State townships including Kutkai and Namhsan. According to locals, artillery shells landed on people’s homes in Loi Peing village in Namhsan.