The Tatmadaw forcibly recruited five civilians to guide them in northern Shan State, in an area where clashes with the Kachin Independence Army have been occurring in the last few days.
The five men were picked up by a Burma Army LID-88 column on Thursday morning (June 18), says a witness. Three are ethnic Ta’ang from Nawng Huel village and two are Kachin living in Karlai Zup Awng internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, both located in Kutkai Township.
The source told SHAN the men between the ages of 20 and 30-years-old were released at about 3:30 p.m. on the same day the army grabbed them.
Locals say fighting between Tatmadaw and KIA has been erupting near Karlai, Nawng Hpan and Nam Phoo villages.
Sayar Nawng Latt, who lives in Karlai Zup Awng IDP, told SHAN that the Burma Army and KIA clashed twice this Thursday. He says tensions remain high and it is likely the fighting will continue in the coming days. Locals reported seeing hundreds of Tatmadaw soldiers arriving in Kutkai Township.
“We’re facing enough economic hardship with the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t want any more fighting. Even though the Burma Army announced its unilateral ceasefire, they’re still sending reinforcements to the area,” Sayar Nawng Latt says.
Fighting between Tatmadaw and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) is also breaking out in Kutkai Township.
Both Tatmadaw and the Three Brotherhood Alliance, of which TNLA is a member, announced a unilateral ceasefire until August 31. But it has not prevented new fighting from starting during the pandemic.