BURMA

Fighting in Central Shan State Reportedly Kills 5 Soldiers, 2 Rebels

A government soldier stands outside a primary school in Wan Wap village in Kyaethee Township on July 16. Residents have complained that government troops have occupied half the homes on the village. (Photo: Hsenpai News Journal / Facebook)

A government soldier stands outside a primary school in Wan Wap village in Kyaethee Township on July 16. Residents have complained that government troops have occupied half the homes on the village. (Photo: Hsenpai News Journal / Facebook)

RANGOON — Burma Army units have clashed with Shan ethnic rebels in central Shan State’s Kyethi Township since Thursday, and bouts of heavy fighting have left five government soldiers dead and about 50 injured, while two rebels were killed and three wounded, according to rebel sources.

Khun Sai, general secretary of the Shan State Progress Party, the political wing of the Shan State Army-North (SSA-North), said the army had repeatedly ordered rebels to abandon a jungle base at Wan Wap village, located about 13 km (8 miles) from Kyethi (Kesi) town, before launching offensive operations in the area.

“Clashes broke out in at least seven places in the area. They used artillery and are still shooting at our fighters,” he said on Friday morning. “About 200 local people were displaced and took refuge at a Buddhist monastery.”

Khun Sai said that about eight Burma Army battalions under the Northeastern Regional Command, including Light Infantry Battalions 247, 248 and 523, were deployed in operations against the rebels.

He said about 50 government soldiers were injured and five were killed, while 2 Shan rebels were shot dead and three were wounded. Khun Sai added, “It’s better if we can solve this political conflict at the negotiating table.”

The SSA-North is one the largest rebels groups in Burma and has had a bilateral ceasefire with the central government since 2012, but its officers have reported hundreds of armed skirmishes with government forces since.

All Wan Wap villagers had fled, some to the township capital and some to a neighboring Shan village, according to resident Shwe Thein, who had gone to Kyethi town.

He said that in Kyethi the fighting in the nearby mountains could still be heard. “There is major fighting going on. We could hear gun fire and artillery the whole day yesterday and also this morning,” Shwe Thein said. “We saw lot of government troops heading to the fighting area yesterday. The situation in the town is normal.”

He said violence had erupted in the area several times in recent months and some 300 Shan villagers had already left the area some time ago to stay at a pagoda elsewhere. Recently, the area appeared to have calmed down, but when the villagers moved back to Wan Wap they found that Burma Army soldiers had occupied about half of the houses.

Shwe Thein said the villagers had collected signatures for a letter to President Thein Sein last month, in which they asked for the army to leave their homes. “They sent it to president, but we did not hear any response from him yet,” he said.


One Response to Fighting in Central Shan State Reportedly Kills 5 Soldiers, 2 Rebels

  1. Alliance is very important for every organization or country. Although the U.S.A has the world’s strongest military, they still need an alliance such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and they develop relationships with Major Non-NATO Allies (MNNA) like Japan, Australia, Egypt, Israel, South Korea, Jordan, New Zealand, Argentina, Bahrain, the Philippines, Thailand, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. According to Guy Peters, “The United States also has friends in the world, although they do not always agree on defense and foreign policy issues. The country has important defense agreements with Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Australia, but its most important alliance has been the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” (419). Therefore, NATO allies may contribute fundamentally to the legitimacy of U.S. foreign policy.
    Now the U.S. has led a war, with help from its NATO allies and some of its MNNA allies, attacking the Islamic State (ISIS). Also, five Sunni Arab nations: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Jordan have joined with the U.S. led military coalition. American foreign policy is a good example for other nations. Therefore, I would like to suggest the ethnic armed forces in Burma should take note of U.S. foreign policy. All ethnic armed forces, including the United Wa State Army, Shan State Army, Karen National Union, and other ethnic armed groups should join the United Nationality Federal Council (UNFC) to establish a Federal Union of Burma and to form the Federal Union Army to protect ethnic areas. If UNFC’s goal has been to form unity among these groups, a problem is that the Burmese military is afraid of the UNFC. However, if these armed ethnic groups quarrel with the UNFC, the Burmese military can easily damage separate groups. Independence can be gained by virtue of unity, since the ethnic armed forces have become more powerful and prosperous due to their growing unity.
    In sum, there is enormous value in allied power. Through alliance these groups can gain great power and strength. Just as the U.S. led military coalition attacked extremist ISIS, the UNFC alliance, which could contain democratic countries, should attack the extremist Burmese military because the Burmese military has not negotiated for peace but rather has systemically perpetuated gross human-rights abuses against the ethnic people.

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