Saturday, June 22, 2024

FIVE MONTHS AFTER SSPP & RCSS CEASEFIRE: Truce seems to be broken and Shan unity back to square one

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With the armed clashes unfolded on May 17 between the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA),United Wa State Army (UWSA) combined forces, including the military junta’s Burma Army, in Lawksawk Township, the five months old ceasefire between the two Shan armies seems to have been broken.

According to Taifreedom News in Shan language on 17 May, at 08:25 a.m. SSPP and UWSA, including the military junta troops launched offensive against the RCSS troops operating in the north of Na Hsam Village, Khaing Kham Long Village-tract, Lawksawk Township, where more than 20 minutes of firefight occurred between the two parties.

At this moment, the UWSA that has entered the west of Salween River and still reinforcing its troops, including the Burma Army with some 350 troops are combing the area looking for RCSS troopers, military tension is high, writes the Taifreedom News.

SSPP SSA Photo SSPP Info
SSPP/SSA. Photo: SSPP Info.

“Yesterday they really fought each other. Their military columns met head on. Beginning last month, the allied troops (meaning: SSPP and UWSA) reinforced their troops and have been combing the forest from Mong Lin to Khaing Kham Village back-and-forth. The firefight occurred in the east of Lawksawk ,” according to a local male who told the Shan News on 18 May.

“Combing the forest looking for RCSS troops was done by the allied forces but all of them wore SSPP uniforms. When you talked to them they didn’t understand Shan language. When they investigate (talked to) people in the shops in Khaing Kham they didn’t speak Shan language either. That’s why some thought they are either Wa or Kokang troops,” the same local male told the SHAN News.

Regarding the incidence, whether the UWSA and Burma Army were involved together with the SSPP in the fight against the RCSS troops, Shan News contacted SSPP spokesperson Col. Sai Hsu and RCSS spokesperson Col. Sai Kham Sarm by phone, but they have not yet responded to the inquiry.

RCSS SSA Photo Tai Freedom
RCSS/SSA. Photo: Tai Freedom.

Thus, the painstakingly and laborious truce agreement between the two Shan armies, with the blessing of the Shan people and Shan Sangha may have come to an end. It isn’t clear how the unity of the Shan people, especially the Shan armies, which is crucial to defend the Shan and non-Shan ethnic groups inhabiting the multi-ethnic Shan State, will unfold in the near future.

For now, the future prospect of Shan State and suffering Shan people as a whole look bleak, with narrow ethno-nationalism on the rise and forging a common Shan State national identity or citizenship in “unity in diversity” mode, still out of sight.

Nevertheless, it is urged even at this hours of animosity, if both Shan armies want to deliver they should try to breathe new live again into Committee for Shan State Unity (CSSU) Manifesto and give more space to Shan political parties, civil society organizations, and representatives of the people, as it has a broad vision of forging Shan/Tai unity, non-Shan ethnic brethren unity within Shan State, and unity of all ethnic nationalities countrywide, which is the ultimate way to go.

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