Tensions remain high between the Burma Army (BA) and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) in southern Shan State, despite hundreds of BA troops recalled after the regime leader and army chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, invited some of the ethnic armed groups to so-called peace talks in May.
SSPP spokesperson Maj Sai Phone Han told SHAN that about 700 regime troops are still stationed around the camp on Mount Sanin in Loilem District. But some soldiers have withdrawn from some areas, probably related to Min Aung Hlaing’s latest plan, he explained.
“Sometimes we have to solve problems by military means. Our patron, Gen Sao Hsur Hten, used to say that there are two sides in a revolution. For example, if one side is red and the other is white, some will work with the red side while others will work for the white side,” the Shan spokesperson told SHAN, without elaborating.
An anonymous source who frequently travels from Mong Nawng to Kunhing said the army reopened the road between the towns on 27 April after it had been closed for a while. But soldiers from the Kali People Militia Force, under the regime, have replaced the BA at checkpoints along the way, he explained.
BA troops have been deployed in Panglong, Laikha, Kehsi, Namsang and Mong Kung townships in southern Shan State.
Sai Phone Han would not comment on whether the SSPP would send representatives to meet with regime leaders in Naypyidaw on 9 May. He said they would follow the decision of the Federal Political Negotiation Consultative Committee (FPNCC), of which the ethnic armed organisation is a member along with other armed groups from Shan and Kachin states.