The spokesperson for Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) blamed the conflict in northern Shan State on the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), claiming that the two ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) were attacking their troops, who had suspended operations during the rainy season.
“They are launching a military offensive against us, which is why fighting continues in the region,” Col Sai Kham San told SHAN.
On August 11, fighting displaced about 300 civilians, including a baby just a few days old, from the villages of Loi Loung, Wan Kawng, Wan Kyaung and Kawng Kaw in Hsipaw Township. These people sought refuge at Kawng Kaw Buddhist monastery.
A villager affected by the conflict said no one was injured and explained that they fled because the fighting came very close to the villages.
A resident from Wan Kawng said RCSS soldiers came to his village before the fighting started. “I do not know the reason why they are fighting each other,” he said.
Volunteers helping civilians told SHAN that 600 people had been forced from their homes by the violence in Hsipaw Township.
In Kyaukme Township, TNLA and SSPP attacked RCSS troops between Pan Hpyet and Pan Kwan at 7am on August 11. According to a local resident, several homes and a Buddhist monastery were damaged in the fighting. However, Col Kham San could not confirm this information.
TNLA spokesperson Maj Mai Aik Kyaw said: “They entered our territory and that’s why we fought with them.”
A volunteer helping the IDPs told SHAN that the EAOs were battling over territory. “They have no other reason to fight each other.”
SHAN called Maj Sai Phone Han, the SSPP spokesperson, several times for his comment, but he could not be reached.
Civilians have been killed or injured and many homes destroyed during the conflict, which has intensified since the February 1 coup. It has caused enormous economic hardship for villagers and put them at risk during Burma’s third wave.
The EAOs have ignored the pleas of the community and religious leaders to meet for peace talks to end the conflict.