The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA) fought for an hour in southern Shan State after the latter armed group reportedly attacked the former near Wan Khieng village in the early morning of 20 May.
“PNLA troops often attack our troops in the area, but this time our soldiers defended themselves and fired back. After the clash, we captured five bodies and weapons from the PNLA,” reports RCSS mouthpiece Tai Freedom.
However, the PNLA’s political wing, the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO), said the RCSS deployed 100 soldiers to attack its camp in Hti Phet Nan, near where the recent fighting took place. Shan soldiers are also staying in Pa-O villages and not letting residents leave. RCSS is sending more soldiers to the area, the group said.
SHAN reached out to spokespersons of both groups for comment, but despite multiple attempts, none of them responded.
In April, there were two clashes between the RCSS and the PNLA in Maukmai Township in which three civilians were injured by hidden landmines that may have been planted by one of the two groups.
The RCSS and PNLO are both signatories to the former government’s Nationwide Ceasewide Agreement (NCA) and are also members of the Peace Process Steering Team, which was established by the NCA groups as a negotiating bloc with the government.
RCSS and PNLO leaders travelled to meet with members of the regime’s State Administration Council in the nation’s capital Naypyidaw and fielded representatives to a meeting with other NCA signatories in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai from 17 to 18 May.