Sunday, July 21, 2024

RCSS/SSA Clash With Tatmadaw In Hsipaw Township

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New fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and Burma Army broke out in Shan State at a time when both groups are trying cooperate during the COVID-19 pandemic.


RCSS/SSA clashed with Tatmadaw LIB-326 this Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Hsipaw Township. An anonymous RCSS/SSA source told SHAN that two lieutenants and two regular soldiers of the Burma Army were killed during the fighting.

Lt-Col Sao Oum Khur, RCSS/SSA spokesperson, told SHAN the clash may have started because of a misunderstanding. He says the Burma Army reported it would travel from Pankok and Pankham villages. RCSS/SSA told them to take the main vehicle road and not the jungle route.

“We told them not to take the jungle road because they might encounter a column of our soldiers. But I think they took the jungle road anyway and then clashed with our troops,” says Sao Oum Khur.

Last week, Tatmadaw’s Eastern Military Command provided Shan soldiers with personal protective equipment and the armed groups discussed how to avoid fighting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few weeks earlier, Tatmadaw attacked RCSS/SSA in Ponpakyin sub-township, located in eastern Shan State.

Lt-Col Sao Oum Khur says he didn’t think the recent fighting was intentional. “Perhaps their soldiers weren’t following in line with our recent agreement. Or maybe their superior officers didn’t even know about the clash,” he says.

The RCSS will negotiate with the regional Burma Army commander and other high-ranking Tatmadaw officials through its liaison office. The ethnic armed group will also bring up the incident during the next meeting of the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee.

“If we can’t solve it at the ground level, it can turn into a big problem. Therefore, it’s important that we negotiate with the Tatmadaw to avoid a crisis.” Lt-Col Sao Oum Khur says.

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