The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) is concerned fighting might break out with the Burma Army after many troops have been dispatched to its area.
Lt-Col Oum Khur, spokesperson for RCSS/SSA, said Tatmadaw soldiers aren’t withdrawing, even though there have been no clashes between the two forces. “The election is coming soon and I don’t know if fighting will start.”
The spokesperson is concerned Tatamadaw troops might attack them before the election to create a climate of fear to discourage civilians from casting votes when polling opens on November 8. “Currently, there isn’t a military standoff,” he said, wondering why Tatmadaw leaders aren’t calling back their men.
Civilians, who are terrified fighting could start any day, are also trying to protect themselves during the pandemic as transmissions spread across the country.
“The election is coming soon and we are concerned about the resumption of fighting in our area. Clashes usually occur during the election period. At the same time, we’re afraid of COVID-19,” said a woman from Monpaw in northern Shan State.
The RCSS/SSA issued a statement at the beginning of September recommending parties planning to campaign in their area to inform them in advance.
RCSS/SSA signed a Union-level ceasefire in 2012 and the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in 2015. However, despite this, over the years the ethnic armed organization have fought the Burma Army multiple times, as well as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army in northern Shan State.