The Burma Army attacked a camp belonging to the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) in Mong Kung Township, southern Shan State, on Thursday, an RCSS source told SHAN.
An RCSS officer said that the attack occurred on the Loi Tawng camp in Ham Ngai village tract at around 8:00 a.m. on February 27.
“They requested to cross through out Loi Tawng camp this morning. When we were reporting it up to a higher level, the Burma Army attacked us,” the officer told SHAN. “We didn’t shoot back.”
SHAN’s interview with the officer occurred at around 1:00 p.m., during which the sound of gunshots could still be heard.
“The Burma Army has sent its reinforcement troops into the area. Helicopters are flying over us but are not shooting at us. On the ground, we can still hear guns firing,” he explained.
Ham Ngai resident Sai Hsai also heard the firing, and confirmed the presence of military helicopters.
“We heard big sounds,” he said, referring to large artillery or guns. “Currently, we cannot leave. We are staying in our homes. Military columns are coming in.”
Locals said that if the assault continues, villagers in Ham Ngai are likely to flee to Mung Kung town for safety. They added that military columns have been arriving in Loilem District—which includes Mong Kung Township—since February 16.
The RCSS is a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and has been taking on a leading role in the convening of the upcoming fourth session of the Union Peace Conference.
“They are implementing the peace process on one side, and there are clashes on the other side,” an RCSS official said, on the condition of anonymity, referring to the Burma Army. “Is the Tatmadaw trying to destroy the peace process?”
On February 24, the RCSS released a statement declaring that the Shan national-level political dialogue would take place before the annual water festival in April.
SHAN tried to call the Tatmadaw’s True News Information Team for comment, but no one had responded at the time of reporting.